You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
One thing we learn from this Scripture is this—the standard of love is high in the Kingdom. Christ compels us to go further than worldly norms. This is born out in two ways.
First, we are to love our neighbors and love our enemies. Loving those who love you in return is not enough. We are commanded to love our enemies. We are called to love those who don’t like us, disagree with us, and even persecute us. Once again, Christ is our example as He died for us even when we were still in our sin (Romans 5:8) and enemies with God. (James 4:4)
Also, we are told to pray for our enemies. Do not curse them, but, pray for them. Jesus asks, in v. 46-47, if we only treat those who love us well, what good is it? Instead, we are to go above and beyond in showing love for others by praying for their good and that they would come to know Christ as Savior and Lord.
This teaching is not easy to hear and obey. But kingdom living requires it. The Holy Spirit lives within us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and will enable us to do all that Jesus has commanded. Let us all commit ourselves to do what Christ has clearly instructed in this passage of Scripture. Be perfect (complete) as your heavenly Father is perfect!