But I say to you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,…
This passage is in earnest. You are to do this. Why? In order that you may come into the family of God. Here is not simply an additional moral maxim, but it is a critical turning thing. Whereas nature says, "Use all your powers of body and mind to repel injuries, and to punish those that are against you"; the spiritual kingdom says, "Use none of them; forgive, love, pray for, bless, help, carry a little heaven in your souls, and make it fair weather around about all those that are your enemies." Is it possible that any such thing as that can take place? I have known some men that came very near to it. One thing is certain — Jesus, whose life was a commentary on His own doctrine, did attain it; and we find Him acting easily, familiarly on that very ground, returning good for evil. Is it a thing, then, that comes with conversion? Men are turned from darkness to light, from selfishness to benevolence; they are said to be converted, but does that state of mind come with conversion? I wish it did, and I know it does not. It is a thing that must be the result of spiritual education in men. Men never come to their graces all at once. It is a law that prevails in the spiritual kingdom as well as in the exterior kingdom, that we come to lower and higher gradations by processes of unfolding, step by step, little by little, continuously through periods of time.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,