Enemies. Don’t we just love those?
Not normally, right? The world tells us that, if someone has done you wrong, it’s okay to do the same to them, while, on the other hand, God tells us to love those who persecute us and be in prayer for them.
Matthew 5: 43-44
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
This is one of the hardest commandments that Jesus gives to us, as followers.
Now, we may be able to easily bring this verse up in conversation with someone, but as soon as it actually applies to us, most of the time we struggle with it. We may struggle with the idea of being kind to someone who has hurt us or spoken about us behind our backs.
Jesus says to love those people anyway!
I know this is something I have struggled with and still struggle with to this day. So, if you’re like me, here are two examples in the Bible that help to explain this teaching a little more.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
These two verses are saying that even though people are evil and hate God, He still cares for them! He gives them what they need to live. Do they/we deserve what He has given us? Absolutely not! That is what God is like and what He wants us to be like as well.
Another verse that may help your understanding is Romans 5:7-8 and it states, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The Bible says that Jesus died for us and all of the evil, selfish things that we have done. He died for us “while we were enemies.” So, if this is how He treated us even when we were enemies, doesn’t this paint a picture of how we should treat our own enemies?
Here are a few ways we can love our enemies:
- Pray for them.
- Ask God for help to forgive them for what they’ve done to you.
- Try not to provoke others to be angry.
- Don’t reciprocate any of their taunting, gossip, etc. If we do this, we sink down to their level and this is not a picture of Jesus. Be the bigger person.
- Ask for help. If someone is causing you continuous hurt, talk to your parents about how you may be able to resolve the issue(s).
- Be patient. People can change over time, and if you continue to show a Godly attitude, you will earn the respect of others.