You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven. (Mat 5:43-48 CEV)

Questions for further reflection

1)      What is this passage about?

2)      How do people deal with their enemies in your context/s? What do you think about them?

3)      Why do you think God makes the sun rise on both good and bad people, sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong etc? What does this tell you about God?

4)      Is loving the enemy possible? What are the stories in your context/s?

5)      What does it mean to love your enemy? What do you think about Jesus’ teaching? Why do you think Jesus wants his disciples to love their enemies and pray for those who mistreat them? What are the challenges in loving our enemies and praying for those who mistreat us? How do we respond to these challenges?

6)      Even Tax collectors love their friends. People who don’t believe in God greet their friends! Why are we expected to be different from them? Why do we have to transcend ordinary expressions of love within our cultural tradition and social location?

7)      (Mentally) prepare a list of those you perceive to be your enemies! Spend some time praying for them.

8)      What is God telling us through the passage? What are you going to do in response to God’s Word?

Samuel Thambusamy