Matt 5:43-48: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Chapter 5 of Matthew contains some of the hardest words the Jesus teaches and that we are to follow. It is against our nature to do the things that Jesus teaches. Our flesh fights every minute of every day to do things that pleases it and gratifies our greed. We are humans with a sin nature that fights against the things of God. For the unredeemed things, that Jesus mentions here are foolish and naïve. Love our enemies, bless those who curse use, and pray for those who treat us wrongly? How contrary are these words to the world we live in today? However, for the Christ-follower we are to do the things that are different from this world. We are called to rebel from the wants and lusts of our flesh and this world and to live different lives.
The distinction for Christ–followers is to live by the words and teachings of Jesus, and even though these are hard lessons that He teaches us, nevertheless we must follow. If we did the same selfish practices that this world displays then we are saying to this world that Jesus being a part of my life does not change my behavior. That way of thinking is wrong. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” I am no longer supposed to act in the same manner in which the world acts. I am to be different; I am to be light in a dark world; I am to be peculiar.
What we do tells the world who we belong to, Christ or the devil. That is why when we are rude, or say something that is not “Christ-like” people often say, “I thought you were a ‘Christian’, you should not act like that”. They are right, for if we are Christ-followers we need to live by a higher standard then the rest of the world. Yes, we all make mistakes and act in ways that are unbecoming, yet we should strive to act the way Jesus tells us to in His word. Do not give in to your flesh; in fact, make war with it. Do the hard things that Jesus tells us to do. Our behavior will greatly influence the world around us, and help people make decisions to follow Christ.
Old Testament: Gen 15-17 New Testament Matt 5:27-48