What do you think of when you see a heart? (Hold up the heart.) Most of us would probably say that when we see a heart, we think of love. Who do you love? Do you love your parents? Do you love your brother or sister? How about your best friend? Do you love your teacher? It is easy to love these people, because they love us too.
Are there any boys or girls that are mean to you at recess? Has anyone ever said something about you that was not true? Do you love those boys and girls? Should we really be expected to love people who are mean to us, treat us badly, and say ugly things about us? Well, let's listen to what Jesus told us to do.
One day Jesus was teaching out on a hillside. We call his lesson that day "The Sermon on the Mount." In his sermon, Jesus said some things that really surprised his listeners. "You have heard that you should love your neighbors and hate your enemies," Jesus said. "But I say, love your enemies -- and if someone does mean and hateful things to you, pray them."
Why should we love our enemies? Jesus said that when we love our enemies, we are acting like children of God. If we only love those who love us, will God reward us for that? If we are only kind to our friends, what is so great about that? Everybody does that!
It isn't always easy to love your enemies, but there are some good reasons for doing it.
- It demonstrates the love of God to others.
- It sets a good example for others to follow.
- It turns enemies into friends.
Father, it is easy to love those who love us. Help us to love our enemies so that they might know that we are your children. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.