It’s one thing to be kind and loving to people who are kind and loving to us. It’s quite another thing to be kind and loving to those who wrong us or hurt us. Yet that is exactly what Jesus commands us to do when He says, “Love your enemies.”
Two farmers lived side by side on land that was divided by a shallow river. One day the cows belonging to one crossed the river and ruined half an acre of the other farmer’s corn. The man who owned the field was so angry, he locked the cows in his barn, made the first farmer pay for all the damage, and held the animals hostage until a high ransom was paid for them. Later that year, some hogs belonging to the second farmer crossed the stream and caused a lot of damage on the property of the man who owned the cows. Although the man was disturbed, he rounded up the hogs and took them back to their own pen. When the owner saw them coming, he expected trouble. But he soon discovered that his neighbor had no intention of harming him or his animals. He asked, “How can you be so kind to me after the way I treated you?” The man replied, “Because I’m a Christian!” That evening the unsaved farmer and his wife paid a visit to the home of their neighbor. And before they left, they had both accepted Christ.
This farmer was willing to follow the teaching of Jesus and voluntarily invested in the life of his enemy. This is a step that is often overlooked by many people, but it is absolutely essential if we are to turn our bitterness into forgiveness and genuine love.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Mat 5:44).