New Testament

Readings from the New Testament

In teaching about loving one’s enemies, Jesus is providing a lesson on God’s love and mercy for all people. Jesus said:

“You have heard it said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’
But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven.
For he makes his sun shine on bad and good people alike,
and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil.”
Matthew 5.43-45

Read again how Jesus loved and forgave Peter and initiated the process of reconciliation.

After they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do?”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Take care of my lambs.” A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord, “ he answered, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.”
A third time Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter became sad because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” and so he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!”
Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.”
John 21.15-17

The apostle Paul gave some specifics about managing difficult relationships.

If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord.” Instead, as the scripture says, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame.” Do not let evil defeat you; instead conquer evil with good.
Romans 12.17-21

The writers of several of the New Testament letters speak of letting go of anger and hatred.

If you become angry,
do not let your anger lead you into sin,
and do not stay angry all day.
. . .

Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger.
No more shouting or insults,
no more hateful feelings of any sort.
Instead, be kind and tenderhearted to one another,
and forgive one another,
as God has forgiven you through Christ.
Ephesians 4.26, 31, 32

You must all have the same attitude and the same feelings;
love one another, and be kind and humble with one another.
Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing;
instead, pay back with a blessing,
because a blessing is what God promised
to give you when he called you.
As the scripture says,
“If you want to enjoy life
and wish to see good times,
you must keep from speaking evil
and stop telling lies.
You must turn away from evil
and do good;
you must strive for peace
with all your heart.”
1 Peter 3.8-11

If we say that we are in the light, yet hate others,
we are in the darkness to this very hour.
If we love others, we live in the light,
and so there is nothing in us
that will cause someone else to sin.
But if we hate others, we are in the darkness;
we walk in it and do not know where we are going,
because the darkness has made us blind.
1 John 2.9-11

We love because God first loved us.
If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars.
For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen,
if we do not love others, whom we have seen.
The command that Christ has given us is this:
whoever loves God must love others also.
1 John 4.19-21

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