You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” Mt 5:43
The rabbis added hate your enemies. It is not in the Bible. See WMB footnote.
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18.
Living in this world, we who follow Jesus have enemies who curse, hate, mistreat and persecute us. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells Old Covenant Jews and us how to respond to such abuse. Not to hate as the Scribes and Pharisees taught but with to love. Jesus was telling how to live in His kingdom as children of our Father in heaven.
But I tell you, love your enemies.
44 But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Mt 5:44-48 WMB
In the kingdom of the Son, we endure abuse from the world without hating our enemy. Love is of God and hate is of the devil. God has poured His love into our hearts by His Spirit (Ro 5:5).
Love is a fruit of the Spirit. Hate is a work of the flesh.
13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Gal 1:13-26 KJV
The devil brings hatred through his tyranny of darkness. But God our Father has delivered us from that power and transferred us into the kingdom of His Son.
9 For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don’t cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, 11 strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, for all endurance and perseverance with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the holy ones in light,
13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, 14 in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created in the heavens and on the earth, visible things and invisible things, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. 18 He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by him, whether things on the earth or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
21 You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil deeds, 22 yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without defect and blameless before him, 23 if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed in all creation under heaven, of which I, Paul, was made a servant. Col 1:9-23
The hope of the Good News is the hope of the gospel of the kingdom: salvation, eternal life in the kingdom of God that is to come. We can walk worthy of God our Father as His children, for He has has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Our Father in heaven has made us His heirs and given us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our first taste of heaven on earth. The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance (Eph 1). Our God given inheritance is the kingdom of God that is to come (Mt 25:31-46; Rev 21-22).
In the kingdom that is to come, the devil will have been cast into the lake of fire, unable to tempt us to hate (Rev 20:10). We will have been changed to be like Jesus (1 Cor 15:42-58). God will be with us in the New Heaven and New Earth. Only God’s love will abound. There will no longer be abuse from the world.
Our love meets hate.
Cursing is met with blessing; hatred, which leads to injuries, with well-doing; and abuse of all kinds, culminating in persecution arising from religious hatred, with prayer and intercession. Whatever meanness the enemies may devise, love’s ingenuity will find a way of overwhelming them with goodness. Kretzmann
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. 19 Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written,
- “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.”
- 20 Therefore
- “If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
- If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
- for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Ro 12:17-21 Cf: Prov 25:21-22]
We are not helpless in returning hate with love.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:10-13 Cf: Eph 6:10-20
Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts. 19 They, having become callous, gave themselves up to lust, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you didn’t learn Messiah that way, 21 if indeed you heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Yeshua: 22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.
25 Therefore putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor. For we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and don’t sin.”✡ Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 and don’t give place† to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Messiah forgave you. Eph 4:17-32
1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 Walk in love, even as Messiah also loved us and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.
3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes holy ones; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate, but rather giving of thanks.
5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Messiah and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 7 Therefore don’t be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, 9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, 10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord. 11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather even reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light. 14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Messiah will shine on you.” Eph 5:1-14
The day of visitation
When God appeared among people to accompany the preaching of the gospel with saving power, the result of the observed conduct of Christians would be to lead those around them to honor him by giving up their hearts to Him; that is, their consistent lives would be the means of the revival and extension of true religion. And is it not always so? Is not the pure and holy walk of Christians an occasion of His bending His footsteps down to earth to bless dying sinners, and to scatter spiritual blessings with a liberal hand? ? Barnes
11 Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
Instruction in right doing
Every Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for convincing, for correction of error, and for instruction in right doing; so that the man of God may himself be complete and may be perfectly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17 WNT
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from World Messianic Bible WMB