But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
It is our natural tendency to love those who are most like us. A person who is into sports is going to feel more comfortable around someone else who likes sports rather than someone who likes to knit for example. There is nothing wrong with this tendency but it can lead to sin when it turns into discrimination so we should at least acknowledge this possibility.
Our love is not supposed to stop with the people whom we find easiest to get along with. It also does not extend only to people from whom we have something to gain. Just as it is easy to like someone with whom we have a lot in common with, it’s easy to like someone who always pays for dinner or who throws big parties.
Jesus says that our love is to be for everyone regardless. We are even to love those who would be our enemies.
What does it mean to love our enemies? It is more than just not wishing them harm. It means that we must seek peace with them and look out for their best interests.
Love is sacrifice and love for our enemies means that we might have to sacrifice something in order to create or maintain peace. Wisdom will dictate what this means in a particular situation; it doesn’t mean that we roll over and give every bully what they want. But it does mean that we act contrary to what our natural reaction is which is to love ourselves first.