“You have heard that it used to be said, ‘You shall love your neighbor’, and ‘hate your enemy’, but I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Heavenly Father.”
Ouch!!! Really Jesus? Love my enemies? Love those who have stolen from me, disparaged my good name, plotted evil against me and my loved ones? REALLY? Yes!!!! But I suspect that among the reasons Jesus asks us to love our enemies is a benefit that derives directly to us. You see, long before medical science understood how toxic emotions, like hate and anger, impair our immune systems and elevate our blood pressure, Jesus knew hate could not bring us relief or health. If, when people do hateful things to us, we are able to place the things and the people in God’s hands, and ask God to do what is best (and really mean it), we release the burden of carrying the negative, debilitating emotion of hate and our souls are made free.