This passage of the Sermon on the Mount builds on the previous five verses and you may wish to read those verses again when contemplating the meaning of this section.
Jesus’ audience would have been familiar with Leviticus 19:18 where the author tells us to “love your neighbour as yourself.” This passage goes much further.
Jesus makes it very clear that God the Father hates evil. Jesus declares that the Father is concerned about the righteous and the unrighteous. Therefore we need to love our enemies and pray for them.
This can be very difficult.
Fortunately, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us in this task.
Jesus then ends these verses urging us to be perfect as the Father is perfect. We are called to a very high standard but it reflects what will happen when the Kingdom of Heaven is complete. Pray that it may be so.
It is the kind of struggle that Jesus asks us to undertake.
The Reverend Deacon Roderick McDowell St. Paul’s Fort Erie.