I am trying to read Matthew this time through as a manual of discipleship. These passages are showing us how to live as a follower of Jesus.
If you are like me, you don’t really have individuals towards whom you are hostile. But at the same time, you may have people who don’t particularly care for you. Maybe that hostility is based on a past transaction, or on a perceived slight, or a jerkiness on my part, or who knows what.
This passage tells me to basically treat that person the same as I would a family member. That can be tough. But it can be done.
A bigger problem for me is those who I perceive to be enemies of my country. I’m a patriotic guy. But I’m trying to learn that patriotism has to take a back seat to my faith. We are global Christians. This kind of love for enemies is much tougher and I don’t have much advice to offer.
Jesus ends these examples of extending the Torah with a statement that we should be perfect as God is perfect. This requirement is going to be a really rough one if we look at the overall perfections of God. The word, though, also means “complete”, and I image what Jesus intends is that we extend the love of God to all people in the same way God does when the blessings of creation are for everyone. At least that helps me think about being perfect.