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There are people in our lives that simple challenge us. Many times that challenge clearly brings out the worst in us. The boss at work who takes credit for things we have done. The obnoxious uncle who is a bore and dominates the Thanksgiving celebration every year with the same old stories. They are the enemies of what is best in us but not really even our enemies.

There are real enemies who want to destroy us. If it is a challenge to love friends and family, what hope do we have to love our enemies? Fortunately God has given us, through Jesus, His Holy Spirit who enables us in ways we can’t imagine.

Jesus turns things upside down. Jesus challenges us to think and act differently. His challenge is to love not hate. Easy to say but not easy to do. We can through the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

God’s goal for us is to love. That is it. No exceptions for anyone, even our enemies.

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer,  for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

Matthew 5:43-47 The Message