Loving Our Enemies

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

The Romans had fostered an environment of hate. Within Rome itself, there were intense personal rivalries, often fueled by selfish ambition. In a letter written in 59 BC, Cicero, the famed Roman orator, declared that “the present regime is the most scandalous in history, the most disgraceful and universally hated by all sorts, classes, and ages of man.”

As Rome’s empire spread, its leaders fostered more hatred and many rebellions. Among the most successful revolts was conducted by Mithridates. This man, who ruled Pontus (in the north of modern Turkey) in the early first century BC, called Rome the “common enemy of mankind.” People throughout the region cheered his victories.

In a famous speech, Mithridates declared that “the Romans have enemies everywhere,” the result of “their corrupt government, rapacious tax-collecting, and public auction of our property.”

The Jews had many reasons to hate the Romans, who had conquered their nation and suppressed their independence. Many hoped for a revolution…a miracle.

Amid this environment, Jesus proclaimed an extraordinary new standard. His followers were not to hate Rome or anyone else. In fact, they were told to love their enemies and “pray for those who persecute you.”

This was a revolutionary teaching. The key to true strength and victory was in having a different attitude: being poor in spirit and gentle…hungering and thirsting for righteousness…being merciful and pure in heart.

Instead of championing war, Jesus’ followers were to be “peacemakers” and “the light of the world.” They were to live in such a way that others would “see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (vs. 3-16).

These principles demonstrate why the Gospel is so different and so powerful. If you want to please God and experience His richest blessings, make these traits the cornerstones of your life.