This verse from Matthew 5 is one of the most challenging (yet clear) commands from Jesus. We forget sometimes that the Lord does not give us mere suggestions for us to contemplate, but instead provides us with specific instructions that we are to follow.
This command — to show love to those who have harmed us, and to intercede on behalf of those who intentionally make our lives miserable — is not an easy one to obey, but obey it we must. In this sense, I believe that “tough love” is required, as loving such prickly people is extremely tough (especially doing so on an ongoing basis).
To me, this verse speaks of forgiveness — not necessarily overlooking a wrong done to us, but instead acknowledging what happened and then choosing to look past it (even if the other person never apologizes or changes her behavior). We must love, but we are also called to be tough, so that if/when the upsetting behavior repeats itself, we remain resolute in our decision to acknowledge, heal from, and then eventually look past such a painful ordeal.
These are my ruminations on this passage. What are yours?