The Common Good

Loving Your Enemies (Even When You Don't Want To)

Sometimes when I'm bored I kind of like to fill in sound effects that I think the crowd listening to Jesus might have responded with. He takes familiar passages and says "you have heard this" (and everyone's like "yeah!") and then he goes "but I say this" (and everyone's like "booo!"). Jesus does this with messianic authority several times in the Sermon on the Mount when he says: "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,'" (and everyone's like "yeah!") "but I say to you, if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also" (and everyone's like "boo!").

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Jesus takes the part of the law of Moses which prevented disproportional punishment. Then, he lets the punishment fit the crime statute found in Exodus 21, and turns it on it's head like Jesus loves to do. Okay, fair enough.

But then the next part says this: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

So where exactly is it is written you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemies? That's just not found in the Torah. I searched for it

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