– F.F. Bruce
We are reminded by the Apostle Paul that Jesus died for us while we were still ungodly, wicked sinners who were His natural enemies (Rom 5:6-10), so we should do nothing less than to do good to those who hate us and do bad to us. We are not to take revenge, but rather, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). There is nothing about loving them if they deserve it, because none of us do. We’re simply told to do our enemies good, even if they treat us badly.
As Jesus said, we must pray for our enemies so that God would not only bless them, but that He might also save them. We were once enemies that Jesus died for, so how can we not pray for those who persecute us? We too were once as they are now, so have mercy and compassion on them because if they don’t repent and trust in Christ, their fate is too terrible to even describe (Rev 21:8).
God first loved us before we ever loved Him (1st John 4:19), so we should also love others before they ever love us or even if they choose to hate us. We do this so “that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45), because “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same” (Matt 5:46). What Jesus is really saying is “if we love our own, and not others, how are we any different from the world who does the same thing?”
F.F. Bruce was right in saying that the best way to destroy an enemy is to turn him into a friend, and Jesus became a friend of sinners, and our friend too, on the day that we trusted in Him. Why not love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, ask God bless those who curse you, and to pray for those who despise you? God saved us when none of us deserved it.