What Jesus taught about loving our enemies

Sometimes we think of love as a feeling we have for family members or close friends. When Jesus speaks of loving our enemies, as he does in Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:27, he means a different kind of love. This love is called agape (ah-gah'pay). When the Gospels were written in Greek almost two thousand years ago, this kind of love was written down like this: dydnri.

Agape means invincible goodwill—feeling good about someone no matter how that person has treated you. Having agape gives you the power to be good to those who may not like you. It means stopping someone from doing bad and helping him or her do good.

Christ Jesus showed us that he had unconquerable agape. He made a group of people repent or change their minds about throwing stones at someone (see John 8:2–11). When he was in his hometown of Nazareth, he saved himself from an angry crowd determined to push him off a cliff (see Luke 4:16–31). And he healed the ear of a man who had come to arrest him (see Luke 22:49–51). Jesus told us to pray for people who want to hurt us because he knew that when we have agape, or goodwill, for others, we are showing that we are the children of God (see Matt. 5:43–48). and Luke 6:27–35).

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The light of God in a very dark hole
March 10, 1997

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