It was once explained to me that the reason we are commanded to love our neighbors and to love our enemies is that they are often the same people. We can see how this bit of philosophy was developed if we closely examine the story of the Good Samaritan.
Notice that the Samaritan was from an ethnic group that the Jews positively despised. And, while the assaulted man was repeatedly ignored by his own people, the hated Samaritan willingly gave aid to the injured Jewish man. Now, if Jesus were telling the story today, He would replace “Samaritan” with the enemy of whoever He was talking to, whether it involved countries or races of people that hate each other, or just two people. Either way, in reality, everyone is our neighbor.
One reason Christianity is so unique is that we are called to love our enemies. We’re called to be fair with them and compassionate toward them and to demonstrate love – even if they hate us. God’s Word is clear: You can’t claim to love God and not love your neighbor. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan so we would be clear who our neighbor is and go and do likewise.