Matthew 5:43-45
43 �You have heard that it was said, �Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.� 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 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.

The teachers of the law had corrupted God�s words. They believed love your neighbor only applied to those near to them, who were of their religion and race. They perverted the thought of love your neighbor and corrupted it even further - for if they were to love their neighbor then surely they were to hate everyone else. This was never intended by God for He had even given instructions to assist foreigners and those who they might not like. We see that Christ sets the people straight when He says, �But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.�

Max Lucado writes about a big, muscle-bound man named Daniel who was swindled by his own brother. He vowed that if he ever saw him again, he would break his neck. A few months later, Daniel became a Christian. Even so, he couldn't forgive his brother. One day, the inevitable encounter took place on a busy avenue. This is how Daniel described what happened:

I saw him, but he didn't see me. I felt my fists clench and my face get hot. My initial impulse was to grab him around the throat and choke the life out of him. But as I looked into his face, my anger began to melt. For as I saw him, I saw the image of my father. I saw my father's eyes. I saw my father's look. I saw my father's expression. And as I saw my father in his face, my enemy once again became my brother. [Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven (Word, 1990) pp. 114-116)

We are all created in the image of God the Father. When we seek to harm another - we seek to harm one who God loves, who God cares for, and who God finds precious. God has those same thoughts for each of us as well. When we confront someone we confront someone who has the same Father God we have. Let go of hatred and love as your Father God would love.

Christ commanded us to love one another. Learn to accept people for who they are. Don�t try to change others for only God can truly change a person. Don�t demand from another something you would not be willing to give. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Let go of anger and replace it with compassion and love. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. Better to listen than to react for better is open rebuke than hidden love. Proverbs 19:11 reminds us - A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Remember today � Love your neighbor, love your enemies.