Why did Jesus Christ say: 

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. So that you may be children of your father in heaven”

(Mathew 5: 43 to 48 and Luke 6: 27to 28,  32 to 36)

Because, our enemies are also the children of the one and only Living God. The wrong doer is a child of God and the victim is a child of God. Let us examine the seriousness of the above Teaching of Jesus with an appropriate example. 

The Example

If the children of the same parents inflict harm on one another, will not the parents go through pain, anguish and become sorrowful? Let us assume that a conflict took place in a family. A son inflicted harm on his brother. (Can be physical, emotional, material, spiritual, monetary, reputation or any other).The victim felt revengeful and caused more harm on the Offender. Will not this retaliation increase pain and sorrow for the parents? No righteous parent will react by saying, “good, my son (the first Offender) deserved this punishment.”. All of us agree that the desire of the parents is that, the Wrong-doer truly repent and seek forgiveness from the victim. A truly repentant/ apologetic Offender feels relieved when unconditional apology is rendered and is willing to compensate for the damages occurred. Is not the Creator’s expectation from His children, similar to what the parents desired?

‘Honour your father and mother’.

I believe all the Religions/ Faiths, teach us to observe diligently, what is stated above. To honour includes refraining from causing sorrow for the parents. Therefore, an appropriate thought process for the first victim is, ” If I retaliate and inflict harm on my brother/sister, my parents will be more sorrowful.( the first Offender should also have thought that, his Transgression on his brother/sister would be painful to their parents). So, because I honor my parents, I shall not retaliate. Also revenge is self-injurious in different ways. To obtain justice one must take recourse to other appropriate means.

I welcome whole heartedly our new Chief Justice S. A Bobde’s statement which I quote “Revenge can never ever be Instant Justice

‘Pray for those who persecute you’                                                                                       

An Example can be as follows.

“Oh my God, I forgive———-(name the person) from my heart.( this forgiveness is not to be conveyed to the Offender unless he has repented. Kindly refer to the earlier article titled ” The Command to forgive: It’s Implementation has two parts”.) Let him realize, that his offence blocks God’s blessings offered to him (God offers His blessings and Grace to all, including the one who is in a sinful state. Therefore we are rightly taught that, God’s love for us is unconditional. This can be explained further) Therefore, let him truly repent and access Your Blessings. Let him also realize that every offense is self injurious”.

“So that you may be the children of your father in heaven”

A question that can arise here is, If God created us, aren’t we already His children? I think, the explanation is as follows.

Because we are given free will, a person can accept or not accept God as his/her father. If one does, the acceptance is proved by words and deeds. Mainly through obedience and faithfulness (and other virtues that God stands for) towards God. Let us consider the following example.

The Example:

All of us are aware that Mahatma Gandhi, father of our nation, who also is a world leader, preached and practiced Non- violence. His voice, in response to the utterance “an eye for an eye”, was, “- – – will make the whole world blind”. For the sake of this article, let us assume that one of his sons (let us name him as Vivek), was into Business. Unfortunately, he indulged in unethical practices. Surely Mahatma Gandhi would feel sad and upset. People’s opinion would be that, Vivek was not a worthy son to his father. In other words, Vivek did not accept Mahatma Gandhi as his father, in the true sense. If need arises for Mahatma Gandhi to speak about his son, he would say, “Although biologically he is my son, I feel sad to say that, he did not live as my son “.

Another explanation can be as follows

When God created our first parents, God could not take prior approval from them. Because, they did not exist then. Free Will and Justice, being very important characteristics of God, God had to implement them on our First Parents and their progeny. For this purpose, God bestowed upon them free will (to accept God as their father or not to accept)and also on all of us. At one stage of our life (when we reached the stage of adulthood?) we are required to make a choice to be a child of God or not.

Another related passage in the Bible is, 

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” John 1: 12.

Marceline Rebello