Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love Thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the Publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the Publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. —Matthew 5:43-48
Transcend duality through love
Jesus says in this passage that it is not enough to love your neighbors only and exclude your enemies. He says that a wise man beholds in the circumference of his heart not only the presence of friends, but also enemies. One who extends his love to friends and enemies alike finds that the duality of love and hate vanishes. He beholds only the presence of the One Love everywhere—in flowers, animals, and in all people, friends and enemies alike.
It is easy to curse someone who hates you, but curses do not stop your enemy from hating; they only increase his hatred. It is better to give love and blessings to people who curse you, so that your good example might change their evil ways.
Actions speak louder than words. It is not easy to deceive the human heart and its intuitive perceptions. If you hate at heart but talk love simply to win your enemy’s good will, it will not work unfailingly. But if you talk love and also hold loving thoughts, you will surely mollify and change your enemies even if they do not admit it openly.
Do good for your enemies
Try to do good for your enemies if possible. This is a sure way of convincing them of your love. Do good for them even though they hate you and are willing to injure you. If those who hate you live far away, pray to God that He free them from their hatred. Even if you cannot take away your enemy’s hatred, God can surely do so, for He is omnipresent in all hearts and minds and can remedy all inharmonious conditions.
If your prayer is sincere and strong, God will be moved to take away the hatred from your enemy’s heart—if He thinks that is the best course for you and all concerned. If your prayer to change your enemy’s attitude is not answered, then know that God wants you to pass the test of loving your enemy while he hates you.
God gives the same measure of love to His naughty child as to His good child, so that His naughty child may have a chance to recover. By silently giving love to wrongdoers, God is helping their slow but sure emancipation. God never admonishes the wrongdoer, but silently and lovingly talks to him through the whispers of his conscience.
Just as God loves all His children, naughty or good, so also does the true child of God learn to give love for hate, goodness for evil actions, and to love all of his divine brethren alike. To become perfect like God, one must behave like God. Those who truly love their enemies become like Him.
I have been reading and re-reading this passage from the time it was first re-published in 2003 (originally in 1936). Not easy to follow always but truly, a life-changing article for me. Thank you, Guruji!