The commandments of Christ seem impossible to follow to those people who never tried to follow them. For instance the Lord said, “Do good to them that hate you.” (Matthew 5:44). You ask in surprise, “How is that possible? Doesn’t this commandment contradict human nature?” You wouldn’t have asked that if you had ever tried to do good to a person who hates you. If you tried it, you would find out that this commandment of our Lord is feasible and consistent with the best human qualities.
Here is a story told to us by a peasant, “Hatred grew between me and my neighbour like a thorn bush. We couldn’t even look into one another’s eyes. My little son was reading the New Testament to me one long winter night. When he read the Saviour’s words Do good to those that hate you (Matthew 5: 44), I shouted, “Enough!” I couldn’t sleep all night, thinking hard how to fulfil that commandment. What good could I do for my neighbour? One day, I heard wailing from the neighbour’s house. I found out that tax collectors had taken all my neighbour’s livestock to sell it and cover the man’s debts. I was thunderstruck: Here, the Lord has given me a chance to do good to my neighbour! I ran to the court and paid the taxes for the man who hated me more than anyone else, and returned his livestock to him. When he learned about it, he spent a while walking in circles around his house. At dusk, he called my name. I approached the fence.
“Why did you call me?” I asked him. He burst in tears and cried for a while, unable to utter a single word. Since that time, we love one another more than brothers do.”
That’s the sweet and amazing fruit that the fulfilment of God’s commandments brings.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds