Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 24th February 2024: Love your enemies

Loving one another Holy Spirit Jesus Matthew 5

Reading : Verses from Matthew, Chapter 5

Holy Spirit as a dove

‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


I think I have been preaching for about 45 years in parishes and Diocese all around the UK. Even in the earliest days as a Lay Reader and later as a Deaconess I was being invited to preach throughout Gloucester (largely as an oddity, I think). I tramped through farmyards to get to rural churches, visited large town churches, and preached in the cathedral, taking my text from the readings for the day, and finding, with God's help something to say. But I freely admit there have always been passages that I have avoided at all costs, and the last verses from Chapter 5 of Matthew's Gospel is one such section, ie "Love your enemies." On reflection perhaps I needed to mature enough to be able to say something. So here goes!

Firstly, in the English language there is one word for 'Love', but in Greek there are at least four. We may have only one word, but we all know the difference between love for a brother or sister and love for our husband, wife, or partner. Neither does loving a person mean there should never be judgement about another's actions.

Secondly, hidden in this little passage is the fact that "our neighbour" is everyone, including those who dislike us, or who are literally our enemies, and whatever their creed, ethnicity or sexuality. After all God gives his benefits to them as to us - the sun shines on them and on us!

Thirdly, we cannot do this without God's help. We need the help of the Holy Spirit if we are to be the sons and daughters that God wishes us to become in His Kingdom of Love.

  • Martin Luther King Jr once said: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hat; only love can do that.


Holy Spirit,
Power of God,
our Lord Jesus Christ
called us to love our neighbour
whether they like or dislike us,
but we find it hard to understand
that this means we are to love
those who are of different
creed, ethnicity and sexuality.
Help Us to change our thinking
as well as our behaviour
and to step forward as Your children.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look at these bible sentences about loving our enemies, and then write a couple down on post-it notes and stick them round the house as reminders during Lent:

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