A friend of mine came to me this week, and she had been hurt yet again by someone in her life.
My friend was frustrated, because she said she keeps trying to improve her relationship with this other person, but the other person continues to disappoint her. My friend finally wanted to give up. She said she was better than letting someone continually hurt her, right?
That is how most of us would react to a situation where a person continually, or even singularly, hurts us. We would say that we have more self-respect than to continue to try to be their friend.
And then, I was looking over my pastor's sermon from last weekend, and the book of John and the example of Christ clearly says "No" to that sentiment.
Jesus knew what was going to happen to him before it happened. Especially, he knew that he was going to die an excruciating death on the cross, thanks for a betrayal by someone who was pretending to be his friend - Judas. Yet, at the Last Supper, Jesus got down on his knees and started to wash his disciple's feet, including Judas'. Jesus humbled himself and served his enemy, loving someone who would hand him over to be killed.
Our reward for that on earth would be pain and disappointment, ridicule by others who wouldn't understand the choice. However, God showed us by his example that we are to love and serve even our enemies. We will receive a reward for that in heaven.
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you...“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful," Luke 6:27-36.