What a powerful word ‘enemy’ is. There must be a strong reason for us to think of someone in those terms, with much pain and emotion surrounding the situation. The idea of loving our enemies is very foreign to our natural instincts. It also cuts against our inbuilt sense of justice. So, when we read Jesus telling his followers to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27; Matt 5:44) it can feel completely unrealistic.
How might this ever be a reality for us?
The Lord declares: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are Your ways MY ways’. (Isaiah 55:8)
Abraham Lincoln once said: “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” Loving our enemies has to be a process which begins with forgiveness. Having forgiven, Jesus then keeps raising the bar: do good to our enemies, bless our enemies, pray for our enemies, and to love our enemies. (Matt 5:44)
Having forgiven, Jesus then keeps raising the bar: do good to our enemies
Behind every person who seeks to inflict harm on another, there is a spirit at work and that spirit wants our attention to draw us into unrest and conflict. This is something we should recognise and resist, giving our full attention to the Lord.
It was no surprise to Jesus that Judas would betray him, but he never excluded him when he met with the 12 disciples. Judas was with him at the last supper and, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, he simply said to Judas: “My friend, go and do what you have come for.” (Matt 26:50)
So how do we have love for our enemies?
The capacity to love our enemies is the most supernatural of actions
The capacity to love our enemies is the most supernatural of actions and is only because of God’s Spirit in us that we can even begin to journey down the path to the freedom that it brings. In order to allow him to work in us we need to be spiritually focused on God, recognise any distractions and pray about them. When we are truly focused on God, we are not focused on the enemy.
We are children of God. He loves us because GOD IS LOVE. A.W. Tozer once stated: “Nothing God ever does, or ever did, or ever will do, is separate from the love of God. Everything He has ever done has been out of love.”
To know the full depth of God’s love, we must come to the cross and see the Son whom He gave up for us, acknowledging the price He paid for us. God’s love for us will become more meaningful as we stop and reflect, spending time with Him in His love.
So, how is your love tank today?
So, how is your love tank today? Is it full to overflowing with love for God, one another, the poor, the disadvantaged, the lost, those who reject God and those who are your enemies?
Whatever the circumstances surrounding our relationship with our enemies we are required by God to love them.
Jesus says that the actions and hostility our enemies show towards us results in us being BLESSED BY GOD and that our reward in heaven will be great (Matt 5:11&12). Indeed, we will receive a crown of life (James 1:12).
When we draw close to God who lavishes His love upon us, His children, we become saturated in His love, soaking it up like a sponge. This makes it more possible to turn to our enemies, show them the love of God, and reach out to them with love. May our actions and love towards our enemies always point to God.
We need to remember that it’s a journey but, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, Jesus and our faithful Heavenly Father, this is the place we want to arrive.
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