Loving Your Enemies
To love one’s enemies is a deliberate act of a person’s will; it is not natural for us to love anyone except those who love us back. Loving your enemies is impossible without the love of God in your heart. Your enemy can be your family, friend, co-worker and people you do not know. There are many reasons why we will hate our enemies. But Jesus tells us the complete opposite. His Word says Matthew 5:43-44 You have heard it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; but I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Jesus also asked us to pray for our enemies, wow we have to love and pray for them! Is this something you could or can do? Many times we do not understand what it means to pray or love our enemy.
Well, who exactly is the enemy? According to the Holman Bible Dictionary it means –
An adversary, foe, or hater. An enemy is one who dislikes or hates (persecute) another and seeks to harm the person. It can refer to an individual opponent or to a hostile force, either a nation or an army.
So Jesus is asking us to love and pray for someone who dislikes, hates, and seeks to do us harm. The love He is asking us to extend to our enemy has to be understood through scripture and not through man’s understanding.
In Matthew we see that Jesus has called Christians to show mercy to their enemy. That is the action of love. What does love mean? The word Love in Matthew means – that you prefer to live through Christ, you embrace God’s will and obey through His Power, actively doing what the Lord prefers.
Loving and Praying for our enemy
When a Christian loves their enemy they are embracing God’s will into their life. They are experiencing the power of God through their obedience. The action of loving our enemy is to pray for them, because the persecution we experience has the ability to produce hate. Jesus is telling this to believers as a way to protect them and bring them closer to the Love of God. As a Christian you are the image of God and God shows mercy at this time of grace to His enemies.
What does His grace look like
We are all enemies of God until we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. As God’s enemy His Grace and Mercy will still flow through your life. When we believe upon the name of Jesus we are asked to extend that same Grace and Mercy to our enemies. When your heart truly sees Jesus you cannot help but extend to others what was given to you.
Grace is and has been taken completely wrong by people who do not know what it was meant for. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology grace means – The word “grace” in biblical parlance can, like forgiveness, repentance, regeneration, and salvation, mean something as broad as describing the whole of God’s activity toward man or as narrow as describing one segment of that activity. An accurate, common definition describes grace as the unmerited favor of God toward man.
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
What Does Loving Your Enemies Look Like
Matthew 26:14 Then one of the Twelve (disciples), who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?
Judas had betrayed Jesus in his heart and now he was acting that thought out. Jesus knew all about this, and when He announced the betrayal to the other disciples they said Matthew 26:20 When it was evening, He (Jesus) was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples, 21 and as they were eating, He said, Solemnly I say to you, one of you will betray Me! 22 They were exceedingly distressed and deeply hurt, began to say to Him one after another, Surely it cannot be I, Lord can it?
Judas was the enemy of Jesus yet none of the other disciples knew anything about it. This means Jesus knew what Judas was thinking and planning but He allowed Judas to proceed without saying anything to anyone. Jesus treated Judas the same as all the others and it was not until it came time for Judas to betray Him that they even knew Judas was not a true believer. We as believers will be around those who profess to believe but do not in their heart.
From experience we have had many people come into our lives who professed to be a Christian and stated they wanted what we live for, however people say a lot when they want something. God does not play this game and He squeezes what is truly in their heart. Therefore the true disciples of Christ will be betrayed by those who say they believe and say they are looking to live life according to God’s will. As someone who teaches the Gospel I have had many professing to want change and to grow closer to God, but in the end they did not. I as a believer pray for God to reveal truth in my heart and I pray for God to reveal truth that is in the heart of those He brings into my life. In time God reveals the truth hidden in their heart of how they truly feel, see, and think about God. Until that time I pray that I give the grace and mercy that was given to me for them to have every opportunity to choose Jesus. This is why Jesus has given us a command and living example of how to obey His command, because our choice in life is not who we will encounter but how we will treat them.
What Does This All Mean
In conclusion, the enemy is someone who hates and has the intent to harm. The enemy will persecute those who believe in Christ. The enemy is not always easy to recognize, especially those who say they are on your side. To love our enemy means once we see they are not our friend, we are to remain the same in our heart attitude. We are to not speak unkind to them or spread gossip about them, however we do not allow them to deceive others. It means we keep our heart pure before God. Jesus will eventually reveal the truth about that person just like he did Judas. The same will happen to every living person. There comes a day for everyone when the truth of their heart will be revealed. Will your heart be able to stand pure before a Holy God?
Biblegateway.com (we use Bible verses from this site)
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