Matthew 5:43-47 (NLT)
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
There were crowds around Jesus on the mountainside as He was preaching to them. Jesus tells them they should love all people and not just their neighbors. Their enemies are especially to be prayed for in hopes they may become friends. He points out the Father gives rain and sunlight to everyone. So the Father cares even for those who are against Him. Then Jesus makes His point by saying even those who are ungodly love those they are close to. Jesus encourages everyone to be perfect, just as God is perfect.
Draw a line at the top of a piece of paper. This line represents God’s perfect and holy nature. Let’s say God is at the 100% mark. Think of people you know ministers, deacons, friends, family and place them on the page where you think they rank in relationship to the 100% mark. You probably will end up with people all over the page. Some may exhibit some holiness and righteousness, while others may have rejected God’s principles all together. Now place yourself on the page where you think you fall. No one should at the 100% mark except God. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” So the Bible tells us there should be no one at the 100% mark except God. Then how is it we are made perfect so that we can be with God, these verses following Romans 3;23 gives us the answers, “Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26) Are you right in God’s sight? Do you know Christ personally as a friend and savior? Pray for those who may not know Christ that they may understand His love and sacrifice. Give thanks for the redemption of sin through faith in Jesus. Praise God for His holiness and righteousness.