Our scripture this week is Matthew 5:43-48.
“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, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Jesus tells us “You have heard that it was said” and has a warning for us – this saying is from humans, not God. The command to hate your enemy does not appear anywhere in scripture. It is a human thought that had been repeated over and over until it became a “saying” some thought was from God.
This is why Jesus encourages us to be in God’s word – so that we can separate what people say from the truth He gives us. How can we know God’s will for us if we don’t study His word? We often wind up going astray because we believe the word of man over the word of God.
God wants us all to be counted as His people, but we must learn what He requires of us in order to be included. God’s word teaches us God’s will so we can walk in God’s way. Jesus says then we can “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”.
Loving Lord, help us to learn Your word, Your will and Your way. Teach us the joy of a relationship with You and the love we are called to share with everyone. Amen.