In Jesus’ call to love both our neighbors AND our enemies, we are challenged. As the Bible points out, God sends the sun and the rain on the just and on the unjust. All are loved by God, none are excluded. We are called to look at the world in the same way. God calls us forward daily on our Christian journey towards perfection. It is a road we are all called to walk. Although the goal of perfection may not be attained here and although we may not even come to see the end of the road, it is the call to always grow in our faith and to strive to be more like Jesus each day.
The call to love our neighbors can be hard when we realize that by neighbors Jesus meant everybody. Not only our family and friends, but the person next door or in the next cubicle/office and even the person who is our ‘enemy’. In this call Jesus wants us to extend ourselves.
On the personal level this challenges us to moe beyond our human hurts and emotions to see all as worthy of God’s love and therefore worthy of our love. This command asks us to look at it from the heart – to love where it is hard to love. To pray for someone who it is hard to pray for.
On the corporate level it calls us as Christians to step beyond the walls of our churches. As the love and holiness of God grows in us, it begins to shine outside of us as we come to love the least, the lost, the lonely, and the unloved. Our faith becomes our actions as we help the Son to shine on all people.