Jesus goes a step further in Matthew 5:43-48 and tells his people, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 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. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” There are several commands in these verses that Jesus gives so that you will live as he does and follow his example.
First, love your enemies! This sounds impossible! However, look at the example of Jesus. He loved those who persecuted him and put him on the cross. He has a deep, godly kind of love for man, that includes his enemies. Next, he tells the people to pray for those who persecute you! He cares for man, both the evil and the good just the same as he describes in these verses, so how much more should we love and pray for our enemies? There is no reward for only loving the easy to love. We must love everyone the same, just as God loves. Jesus says here that it is easy to be kind to those who you love, but that is not living any differently than anyone else? As Christians, we are to stand out from the world, be the light in the darkness, and be kind to everyone. Lastly, he tells his followers to be perfect, as God is perfect. This is only possible when you are loving others, praying for them, and being kind. It makes perfection a little more attainable.