How do we love our enemies?
Before we assume we understand how to love, we need to think about love itself. I was convicted this week about my inadequate understanding of love. In meditating on hatred, it was shown to me that indifference is a form of hatred. No caring, not having an opinion for the wellbeing of a fellow human being is also hatred. This broadly widens both "who" is our enemy and how it is that we may hate.
Prior to this insight, I would have said, "I don't have a hate problem. I have a loving people problem." I see now how foolish that distinction is.
Therefore, now as we look to Mt 5:43-48, we are better equipped to move from hate to love. In particular, we see that love is (1) aggressive and (2)indiscriminate.
First, notice v. 47 suggests that we should greet our enemies on the street. In other words, WE are to take the initiative. WE are to do something extraordinarily humiliating. How humbling to suck up our anger, indifference, or whatever in order to pursue the good of those who might spit on us if provoked enough. This requires our losing any sense of self. This is counter to every instinct we have. They may reject our loving advance, but was not the cross the foremost act of love, yet humiliating and rejected again and again by people daily?
Second, vv.46-47 rejects selectively loving people based on criteria preferable to us. We tend to only accept people when they are enough like us or when they can benefit us. We don't "accept" people when we withhold our affection, a place in our heart for them, unless they meet some criteria we set up. We don't have to approve of their sin, but should we not have each person we meet in our heart. What criteria do you and I set up? Being rich, being smart, being parents, being from one place of another, being well-mannered, being....?