Daily Word

Love – especially enemies | Matthew 5:43-48

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)

You have heard it said…

Jesus now completes His teaching about the Old Testament (OT) law and the proper way to interpret and apply it. “You have heard it said…but I say” is the structure of these teachings. A summary list of them in this chapter is: 5:21 – murder; 5:27 – adultery; 5:31 – divorce; 5:33 – vows; 5:38 – Justice. And now 5:43 – love.

OT law

The OT law Jesus is referring to here is from Leviticus 19:18 where God to told Israel to love their neighbor. The Jewish scribes added the second part, to hate your enemy. “Thou shalt love thy friend, and hate thine enemy. This was certainly the meaning which the Jews put on it: for neighbour, with them, implied those of the Jewish race, and all others were, considered by them as natural enemies.” (Clarke’s commentary)

Jesus’ correction

Again, as with the other “you have heard it said” passages (see list above), Jesus corrects their errant understanding of God’s original meaning. Love your enemies! You should even pray for them! This is no easier today than it was then. Some of us have people in our lives we would consider enemies; others don’t. 

Who’s my neighbor?

Later, the Jewish leaders attempted to get around Jesus’ proper understanding and asked, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29) This led to Jesus’ famous “Good Samaritan” teaching parable (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus made it clear what was already evident: everyone is our neighbor…so love everyone!

Years ago we lived in Chinatown and got to know our neighbor, Mr. Who. Indeed, Who was our neighbor!

God’s way

This teaching naturally follows on the previous of showing grace, not justice. God does this. He sends rain for everyone alike. He makes His salvation free to all who ask. Our time on earth is the time to show mercy and grace…to all.

In summary of these “you have heard it said”, we need to be perfect as He, Jesus is.

  • “He would never hate, slander or speak evil of another person.
  • He would never lust in his heart or mind, and not covet anything.
  • He would never make a false oath, and always be completely truthful.
  • He would let God defend his personal rights, and not take it upon himself to defend those rights.
  • He would always love his neighbors, and even his enemies.”


  • Maybe you don’t consider anyone an enemy, but someone else may consider you an “enemy” – they don’t like you and would even wish evil for you. That’s a person you need to think about loving. Or, expand it a bit to the person you don’t have interaction with…and don’t want interaction with. The homeless person asking for money. The obnoxious patron at the restaurant, or the mean civil servant who growls at everyone.
Homeless guy. Image from Pxfuel.com

🤞 May I notify you of new posts?

They'll be sent out as soon as new POSTs are created, which has been daily (hence the name) for over 15 years.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content