Radical love requires responding to wrongs with positive ministry toward the wrongdoer, not with retaliation (6:27-30).
Jesus assumes that His followers will have enemies. He has just stated that His disciples are blessed when men hate them, ostracize them, heap insults on them, and spurn their names as evil for His sake (6:22). We shouldn’t have enemies because of our obnoxious or insensitive behavior. But if we live righteously and hold firmly to God’s truth, we will have enemies in this evil world. Our lives will convict sinners who will try to bring us down so that they can justify their own sins. But we must respond to all mistreatment by actively loving those who wrong us, never by retaliating.
Jesus begins with a general statement, “Love your enemies.” The word is “agape,” love that is committed to the highest good of the one loved. Such love is not primarily a feeling, but an action stemming from an attitude. Thus it can be commanded. The attitude of love thinks about the other person as a fellow sinner who needs to know the forgiveness of sins that is in Jesus. We were once just as this sinner now is—selfish, blinded by sin, and alienated from God. But thankfully, God showed us mercy. This attitude frees us to act in ways that show God’s love and grace to the wrongdoer. Thus Jesus adds, “Do good to those who hate you.” It is not enough just to refrain from getting even. It is not sufficient to separate yourself from the one who has wronged you. Jesus says that we must actively do good to the wrongdoer!
You say, “How do I do this?” Jesus gives some specific examples. “Bless those who curse you.” If a person verbally attacks you, respond with kind words. If he calls you names or cusses you out, don’t respond by telling him off, even if you avoid using swear words. Respond graciously.
Jesus gives us further direction: “Pray for those who mistreat you.” He doesn’t mean to pray the imprecatory psalms! He means to pray sincerely for their well-being, which probably includes their conversion to Christ. You can rest assured that if the person does not repent, God will bring His righteous judgment upon him in due time. But rather than feeling sorry for yourself because you have been mistreated, feel compassion for this sinner who is headed for hell, if God does not intervene. Pray that God would be merciful in saving the person for His glory.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7