Bible Lesson Series 1: Love Your Enemies
Every Sunday, the church I attend has Sunday school classes before regular service from 9:30am to 10:15am. Each lesson is on a different topic based on story, and lessons from the bible. We get our lessons from a study book. It’s called “Christian Life Series”, and can be found in most Christian book stores. The books are different every season and have a different lesson every Sunday.
Our classes are broken up into different age groups ranging from children age 2 to 11, teens age 12 to 18, and the women and men classes are split up for ages 19 and up. The books are split up into age groups also! You have the youth books, young adult books, and the adult books.
There is a different book for the teacher of the class as well. The different age groups help for comparing the bible to a way of life that you are familiar with. A 6 year old won’t really connect to the life story of a 16 year old and a 16 year old won’t really relate to the life story of a 60 year old.
Although the lesson is the same each week for everyone, the explanation of the lesson is different for each age group. The examples help each different group apply the lesson to their everyday lives.
I thought it would be a great idea for me to share what I learn each week, from each Sunday school lesson, for those interested. I hope you enjoy my new series.
This lesson is coming from Matthew 5:43-48 and it is titled “Loving as God’s People”. We did this lesson on 11/13/2011.
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’* and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Here Jesus is speaking and he is saying, you hear people saying it’s ok to love your neighbor and hate everyone that hate you! The keyword in verse 43 is hear. Everything we hear isn’t true and isn’t what the bible tells us to do. It’s very easy to follow what we see the majority doing.
It’s easy to just hate someone because they hate you. Many people feel like they need to be accepted and they do what they see everyone else doing. There are many times where I felt like I should treat people how they treat me, instead of loving my enemies and treating them the way I want to be treated, because it seems like I’m always going to be walked over. It feels easier but every time I take revenge on people I feel horrible afterwards.
In verse 44 Jesus is telling us that loving your enemies in important and that we should pray for them that bully and harass us. The minute we decide that we are going to believe and do what the bible tells us is the minute we will start to be tested. Being a Christian doesn’t make our lives easier but it does make us better people in the end.
Jesus is the perfect example and role model for us and that is one of the reasons He came to this earth. He was persecuted on the cross and what did he do? He prayed for them, he said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
This lesson has opened my eyes to the way Jesus was persecuted for my sins and he just took it when he could have taken revenge on everyone that hurt Him.
There are still people out there that choose to hurt and harm others and that will never change and it may even get worse but our job as Christians is to continue to show love to them and be the same example to them that Jesus was for us. We need to pray for them because the way they act will only harm them in the end.
45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Jesus wants us to see that by loving your enemies, you are showing that you are a true child of God. Children usually act like and follow their parents. Little girls see their moms wear high heel and want to do the same.
Little boys see their dad shaving and want to do the same. As children we even want to follow the same occupation as our parents. We look up to our parents and follow the instructions they give to us. It’s important that we do the same with our heavenly Father.
God shows us unconditional love. He will not just rain on the crops of the just and withhold that same rain from the unjust. As parents we would not only feed the child that obeys what you ask of them and starve the child that disobeys your every word. We love our children no matter what they have done and we (just as God) should love our enemies and our friends the same exact way.
46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.
What if we just love the people that love us and only treat the people that do the right thing with respect and love? How can we be rewarded for doing basically nothing? Even thieves and murderers can be nice to those that are nice to them and mean to people that are mean to them? We are not setting ourselves apart by doing that.
If we mess up just once and hurt God would we expect Him to start ignoring us and to forget that we exist? Never! So when someone hurts us we should act as if it’s someone very dear to you or even ourselves and continue to pray for them and treating them with love and respect.
48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
By just doing what the bible tells you and by loving your enemies we are being perfect. As humans we will never be perfect but doing what the bible tells us helps us strive to live as a perfect example to others, showing them the love of our perfect heavenly Father.