And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. . . . But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:31, 35-36)
The unknown Syrian monk, now called Pseudo-Macarius, writing in the 6th Century, comments on how monks endeavored to fulfill Christ’s commands to “love your enemies” and “do unto others,” noting that they came to see how even their enemies helped them fulfill the Gospel commandments:
For as they hated the pleasant things of life, they loved those who took such things away from them as though they were cooperating with their own goal, even though they failed to ‘know good and evil‘ (Genesis 3:5). For they neither turned away those who were good nor accused the evil ones, since they regarded all as ambassadors of the Master’s providential order. Therefore, toward all they had a sympathetic attitude. When they heard the Lord saying, ‘Forgive and it will be forgiven you‘ (Luke 6: 37), then they regarded those who injured them as benefactors since they received from them the occasion for their own forgiveness. When again they heard, ‘As you would wish that men do to you, do also unto them‘ (Matthew 7:12), then they loved good persons consciously. Forgetting their own self-righteousness and seeking the righteousness of God, they consequently also found love naturally included in it.
For the Lord, in commanding many things, regarding love, enjoined us to seek the ‘righteousness of God‘ (Matthew 6:33). For he knows that it is the mother of love. There is no other way to be saved except through the neighbor as he has commanded: ‘Forgive and it will be forgiven you‘ (Luke 6: 37). This is the spiritual law which has been written in faithful hearts, ‘the fulfillment of the first law‘ (Romans 13:10). (THE FIFTY SPIRITUAL HOMILIES, p 207)