How to Love Your Enemy
I made a post on Facebook this morning (10/7/14) with a thought for the day. Here it is, copied and pasted here for you:
Thought for the day to put into action:
Realize today as we relate with and interact with others, especially with others who are frustrating or hurtful, that someone who lashes out at us or makes no sense to us because they are mean or keep doing things that hurt themselves or others is probably acting out of their own place of pain or distress. Even we do this and sometimes wonder, “Why did I just do that again?! I didn’t mean to say that. That is something I was hoping that I would never do again. God please forgive me for that again.”
The source of these struggles and sins comes directly from lies that we believe that have us living beneath our potential.
A lie believed feels like the truth and we will act accordingly.
That person who is in bondage to rage or slander or dishonoring a parent or an addiction – and who hurts you with their words, their actions or selfish behavior – is hurting, too. Even Christians can still have lies that they believe even though they know the truth and it sounds good to them. There can still be areas where we need to get an experiential grasp of God’s truth in our lives. Lies come from the devil.
Truth comes from Jesus, from God’s Word.
He whom the Son sets free is free, indeed.
The Son sets us free because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The Holy Spirit is the Counselor who will lead us into all truth and who reminds us of God’s Word. Just because we have gotten a Truth revealed to us and we have learned to walk in that Truth, does not make us better or above someone who is still struggling with a particular area.
Let us instead of being hurt, remember that Jesus has set us free and we have received counsel from the Counselor and share love with those who are hurting and Truth when that person is ready or when the Lord speaks to our heart that he or she is ready to hear a truth in love.
LET LOVE BE OUR MOTIVATION AND MAY WE BE GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TODAY AS WE ARE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF IT. MAY WE TRULY LOVE THE PERSON WHETHER THEY HURT US OR CHEAT US OR BETRAY US.
That is why Jesus said to love those who betray us and to pray for our enemies. Because they are not our enemies, they are just under the control of our enemy in at least one or more areas in their lives and they want to be set free as much as we do and did before we knew Christ and began to follow Him. This is part of being a disciple of Christ and taking up our cross!
How to love our enemies, as we are commanded by Jesus in Matthew 5:43-48, is a difficult thing to process and to do. So how do we do that?
First, let us look at what Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-48:
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 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.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as Your Heavenly Father is perfect.
First, there are a couple of tough commands to follow here and they also come with tough consequences. Instead of focusing on how tough the command is, maybe we can focus on the reward because it is also the way to follow through with the command. Jesus said to do these difficult things so that we may children of our Father in heaven. When we realize that we are His children and that He is for us and that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ and when we focus on just how much we have been forgiven for in order to be His children, then we can begin to love as Jesus loves and be forgiving and kind.
The opposite of following what Jesus commands us to do is to just continue treating others as we think that they deserve to be treated. If we choose not to do as Jesus teaches us then we will not be children of God and we will not reap a heavenly eternal reward. Our lives on earth will also not be as fruitful and fulfilling as they could be if we follow Jesus. It is definitely human to want revenge, to punish, to point out flaws, to retaliate and to protect ourselves. But by God’s grace and through the work of the Holy Spirit and by God’s transforming power, we can love as Jesus loves and really see the world around us changed for the better.
Ultimately, human love is not enough. Human love fails. Human love is not really love as Jesus loves. Human love alone cannot change me, you, our city, our state, our country or the world. Only the love of Jesus flowing through each one of us to one another can truly change the world and unite all of humanity. No government, no theology, no ideology, no political party and no denomination can really change the world. Only Jesus and His love can bring healing and unity to the world.
Ultimately, the fruit of the Spirit as it is grown in us is what helps us learn to love as Jesus loves. Baby steps are what it takes to get there. Thank the Lord that He doesn’t expect us to just all of the sudden start loving folks the way that He does. Some people grow spiritual fruit by the work of the Holy Spirit a little quicker than others, but there are some of us that are hard headed that it takes a lot of work and brokenness here and there to help us understand on a heart level and not just a head level what Jesus is talking about when He says to love others.
If you read this and it helps you, then I am so glad. I wrote this because the Lord has been talking to me about how to love – even in my own home, in my own family and also others in general. I have been taking Jesus at His word and doing as He said to do. Wow. What a difference His love makes! Volatile situations calm down and real communication begins. Acting out occurs much less and real conversations and enjoyable moments start to happen more and more. I testify to the fact that Jesus and His teachings about loving others may not make a lot of sense at first and they do go against my natural inclinations and I have to hold my breath sometimes – go to another room, cry and pray – and tell Jesus that I don’t want to but I am going to because You said to and I need Your help – and you know what? Jesus helps. His grace abounds and He gives me mercy to extend to others. And people really do appreciate a sincere apology and real love as Jesus loves.
God bless you! Thanks for visiting our blog!
P.S. I am still working through the whole bigger idea of how to be a light for Jesus in more serious persecution than what we are facing here in America, yet. I am praying for the Lord to help me in the place where He has me, for now. This post is more for loving those that we deal with every day in relationships with family, friends, co-workers and even at the grocery store. I don’t pretend to know more about anything other than that at this point. ❤