“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.


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.


In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:38-48 (MSG)



In Matthew, Jesus was exhorting the people to go beyond their common knowledge of loving their neighbor.  The people listening to him would have understood his example of challenging a wrong action. It made sense that there should be an equal compensation paid for a wrong. Yet, Jesus took the common belief of the day and turned it around. Instead of looking for the moment to get back at someone, He challenged the people to love in a different way. Instead of loving people who do good to you, intentionally love and pray for the people who frustrate and oppose you. The concept of “getting even” goes against God’s mandate. While it can be easy to like the people who like us, we come to know more fully Christ’s love for us when we love others even when they don’t deserve it.


When everything is going your way, it is easy to be happy. Then, when life happens, our emotions can roller coaster into unhappiness or even depression. If we are not careful, our life can be dictated by the people or circumstances around us. Jesus knew that it was natural for us to be kind to those who are kind to us. However, He understood that the people who like us do not refine our character in the same way as our enemies.  You may be facing a difficult situation with someone at work or in your family.  Furthermore, the people who blatantly criticize you can bring out ungodly emotions.  It is easy for criticism from people who are against us to cut to our core.  Then, our wounds can spur on retaliation. Yet, what if we turned the criticism from others into fuel? What if that fuel ignited our prayers on their behalf? Instead of waiting for trouble to befall upon someone, our prayers for them can change our hearts as well. It’s difficult to pray for God’s blessing in someone’s life and simultaneously hate them.  Prayer changes our heart and brings out the best in us. Loving people on paper is easy; loving people when they vehemently lash out against us is hard. Next time someone directly or indirectly stands against you, realize that God is waiting to see how you will respond.  And, when you respond with prayers, the daggers of your enemies don’t permeate your core. Romans 5:8 (NIV) says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In the same way that God did not wait for us to initiate reconciliation, we also have the opportunity to love people and live graciously by going against conventional wisdom through loving people without exception.


Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


[separator_small separator_width=” thickness=” up=” down=”]


About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.




[separator_small separator_width=” thickness=” up=” down=”]

Discover how to start a business + lead your life + create a life you love. Don't miss a post!: