Note: it is the high duty of Christians to love their enemies; we cannot have complacency in one that is openly wicked and profane, nor put confidence in one that we know to be deceitful, nor are we to love all alike.
But we must pay respect to human nature, and so far, honour all men. We must take notice, with pleasure, of that even in our enemies, which is amiable and commendable ingenuousness, good temper, learning, and moral virtue, kindness to others, a profession of religion, and love that, though they are our enemies.
We must have compassion for them and goodwill toward them. We are here told,
- That we must speak well of them: Bless them that curse you. When we talk to them, we must answer their reviling with courteous and friendly words and not give railing for railing behind their backs. We must commend that in them, which is commendable, and when we have said all the good we can of them, not be forward to say anything more. See 1 Peter 3:9. In whose tongues is the law of kindness, they can give kind words to those who provide vulgar words to them.
- That we must do well to them: “Do good to them that hate you, and that will be a better proof of love than good words. Be ready to do them all the real kindness that you can, and glad of an opportunity to do it, in their bodies, estates, names, families and especially to do good to their souls” It was said of Archbishop Cranmer that the way to make him a friend was to do him an ill turn so many did he serve who had disobliged him.
- We must pray for them: Pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.
- (1) It is no new thing for the most excellent saints to be hated, cursed, persecuted, and despitefully used, by wicked people Christ himself was so treated.
- (2) That when at any time we meet with such usage, we have an opportunity of showing our conformity both to the precept and to the example of Christ by praying for them who thus abuse us. If we cannot otherwise testify our love to them, yet this way, we may without ostentation, and it is such a way as surely, we durst not dissemble in.
We must pray that God will forgive them, that they may never fare the worse for anything they have done against us, and that he would make them be at peace with us, and this is one way of making them so.
1 Corinthians 6:17 KJV
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Mark 2:17 KJV
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.