My Dear Children,
Though it’s hard, you must love those who hate you and hurt you. Allow the things they do to you to bring out the best in your character and your responses. Anyone can love those who do good things for them, but only my children can love like I do – responding in a caring way in the face of evil.
When you love as I do, you can pray for others who hurt you – not just pray that the hurt will stop. You can forgive them, even when the things they do threaten to snuff out your very life, even as I did on the cross.
When you show the same love to others that I have shown you, people will recognize that you are my children – that you belong to me! Nothing makes my heart swell with joy more than that.
Ephesians 5:1-2 GNT, “Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God.”
Matt 5:44-47 The Message“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
John 15:9-17 (CEB) As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
Luke 23:34 NIV Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.