“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 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.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Your character must be independent of context.
This is easier said than done. We know how difficult it is to be good, irrespective of circumstance, especially as it is existential and runs counter to self preservation. We are hard wired to filter friends from foe and deal with them in a way that incentivises onlookers to prefer being a friend than a foe.
The Word of God advises a hard choice – “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
This is hinged on the commandment – “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The “neighbor” is not qualified in the commandment as either good or bad. It is presented plainly as “neighbor” and it encapsulates the different shades that exist within it. Good or bad neighbor, the commandment says, love them.
It is a sacrifice.
Can you do it? Yes.
Will you do it? It depends.
At least consciously try it. Like all things, you will get better as you practice. And practice makes perfect.