How to Love Your Enemies and Why Jesus Commands Us to Do It
Written by Christi Given | September 3, 2018
As Christians, we are to be against the cultural norms and trends. We are to go against the grain of what society says. Jesus shocked many religious leaders with his parables and teachings. Many times what he said seemed so impossible or outlandish. For example, “Have faith the size of a mustard seed and you can move a mountain” sounds impossible. But Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Love Your “Frenemy”
Christ teaches us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, and that we should turn the other cheek when someone mistreats us or strikes us. This seems counterintuitive and also very selfless. Jesus challenges us to not just love our family and friends because, he said, even the pagans and unbelievers do that. If the worldly heathen can love his family member, how will people see Christians as different? Well, God makes a good point when we are to “love” our neighbor and to “love” even our enemies or those who hate us.
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, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:43-45)
Is there someone who may be coming against you or is persecuting you? Is there anyone in your life who has bullied you, made fun of you or just been mean to you? I challenge you to turn the other cheek and to love even your enemy. God said when we do this, it will be like coals heaping over someone with kindness. We need to overcome the evil in the world with good and spread the light of God. Love is life and to show people by example speaks volumes.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, “How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” Jesus saith unto him, “I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Pray for Your Mean Girls
Is there anyone you’ve encountered who maybe doesn’t feel like an enemy, but they’re not someone who is on your side? I challenge you to smile, be nice to them and to even pray for them. One movie I never saw was Mean Girls, and people always tease me about not seeing it, because they say it’s a funny film, but I wanted to ask you if you’ve seen it. Would you be willing to pray for those “mean girls” in your life? Is there a sibling or even a family member who just doesn’t stop hounding you or attacking you?
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
Respond with kindness, humility, gentleness and grace, and in the meantime, pray for their spirit. Everyone needs a savior and the one true messiah, Jesus Christ. If the person isn’t operating out of the Holy Spirit, then that means they have a desperate need for salvation. This should be an urgent warning to your spirit to intercede for this person—not in how they are treating you, but if they are not saved or operating in the fruits of the spirit, then they are in worst trouble with God.
Let us not gloat over our enemies or delight in evil (1 Corinthians 13). The Word of God says that the love of God that we should have should never rejoice in the enemy getting caught or in trouble, but rather, we should rejoice in the truth of the Lord. We must stay humble, kind and loving. This takes the power of God’s Holy Spirit to give us mercy and grace and to extend that to the person willingly. Being forgiving is very generous when someone has wronged us, but Christ did that for us, so how much MORE should we forgive?
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15)
We must really examine our hearts and our spirits, and pray for wisdom and guidance.
I want to be clear on something as well: Just because you pray for your enemy doesn’t mean God wants you to be best friends with them all of a sudden. For example, if there is a mean girl with a bad reputation, the Bible clearly says to avoid the path of the wicked (Proverbs 1), but to walk with the wise. We can pray for people and love from afar, but we also have to be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves” (Matthew 10:16). We want to be living examples of God’s love and forgiveness without compromising our morals or our reputation, amen?
PI Girls, how can we pray for you?
Message me if you have further questions about this topic: facebook.com/christigiven.