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Today Jesus enjoins us not only to love those who love us, but to go farther: to love those who hate us, even those who persecute us.
Love is best described as willing the good of the other. We can pray even for the good of our enemies — and we can pray for the change of their hearts as well as our own.
Ultimately, a Christian is meant to look different from the rest of the world, which is often characterized by revenge, violence, and hatred.
When we love even our enemies, then we are called “children of (our) heavenly Father” because God also loves all persons, even those who fight against him.