Normally we regard as friends those who like us, because they speak well of us or because they help us. Who is not grateful and generous to those who favour them or do something for them? Loving those who love you, greeting your friends, even the pagans do that, says Jesus.
On the other hand, we all see as normal that those who commit a crime, pay and pay in proportion to the wrong caused. This is an ‘eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth’. It is just, according to human justice. It could also be the way of preventing the response to evil descending into disproportionate revenge and cause more evil than you are trying to combat.
The teaching of Jesus goes beyond that. He says to his disciples: ‘Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you’ (Mt 5:44). But, is it possible? How can I feel sympathy for my enemy, how can I love those who have done me wrong and who have ruined my life? Jesus did not speak about feelings of love, rather of true love, that is to say, always do good, including to your enemy because what is good for him is also good for you. If your enemy is a bad person who has done you wrong, don’t be like him doing bad things as well. You will be like him, you would give up on love, you would lose your dignity in favour of hatred or resentment, poison your heart.
This is the way God behaves, who rains down on the just and sinners, who loves all because everybody is a child of his. God cannot do evil to whoever does not love him or destroy whoever despises him because he is Father. This is what Jesus not only preaches but also lives and expresses in the critical moment of his death: pardon, love, give your life for all, including your persecutors.
Have you thought sometimes about your reactions to those who have wronged you or continue to harm you? Have you fallen to their level by returning wrong for wrong?