As Jesus’ followers, we know what we need to do, but we can’t do it on our own. We need to be in the discipline of following Jesus in the little things so that when we get to the big, overwhelming, impossible things like loving our enemies, we can do it, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to pray that we would be like Jesus, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to come, to indwell us, to show us the way.
Our passage ends with the instruction to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
And this serves as the conclusion to all the “You have heard it said, but now I say…” passages. Now the word we translate as perfect is the word for end in Greek. RT France tells us why this choice of word is important. The end is “a life totally integrated with the will of God and thus reflecting his character.”15
Each day, we are faced with a choice: Will I reflect God’s character today? Will I choose peace and break the cycle of revenge, refusing to get even, refusing to put my rights as number one? Will I choose love for even my enemy when everything within me rebels at such a costly and paradoxical notion?