by Rick Warren — September 16, 2020
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV)
You can choose to respond to the people who hurt you by hurting them. That’s the easiest choice to make, no doubt about it.
But God gives us another option in his Word: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV).
When people hurt you, they expect you to retaliate. They expect you to seek revenge. But God wants you to do the exact opposite. He wants you to respond in love.
If you respond to mistreatment with love, you’ll keep the other person from controlling you. You can’t control when another person treats you unfairly. You can control whether you get bitter in the process. You can control your response to injustice.
Just because you respond to an offender lovingly doesn’t mean you continue to allow injustice. On the contrary, we must lovingly seek justice. We must work for justice in the world without retaliating. The Bible commands us to “be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!” (Jeremiah 22:3 NLT).
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great example of this. He fought against injustice without violence. He overcame evil through the power of love. He followed the example of Jesus, who chose to forgive his persecutors even as they were killing him.
That’s our calling as followers of Jesus. Unfairness and injustice may be part of the human condition, but we must not feed into it. Instead, God calls us to respond in love.