Sunday, February 24, 2013

Love Your Enemies


"But I tell you who hear me:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who mistreat you."  Luke 6:27 & 27

"Do to others as you would have them do to you."  Luke 6:31

This is the most difficult part of loving others: to love your enemies.  Those who hate and mistreat us......hate is such a short word but an extremely strong word - let's define the word "hate". 
"Hate - intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury" Merriam-Webster
Synonyms:  abhorrence, detestation, revulsion, disgust, loathing, dislike & animosity.
How in the world are we supposed to love someone who hates us so strongly?  I'm going to be honest - it's not easy but it is something that we must do as Christians. 
 
Let's look at the verses above - we are to "do good" to those who hate us & "pray for those who mistreat" us.  I have found that good acts become much easier if you pray first.  Spend good quality quiet time with our Lord God Almighty and focus on this person who is your enemy - it will be amazing how God will soften your heart towards that person.  Be honest with God - after praying you might be surprised to see your enemy in a whole different light and understand a little better where they are coming from. 
 
You won't always be able to pray before acting.  There might come a time when your enemy is a stranger.  For example - someone who hates all Christians.  You might only have 5 minutes of contact with that stranger and that might be the only 5 minutes of Jesus' love that the enemy will ever see.  We need to be prepared to love others in a split second.  This is where I fall short & struggle constantly - I am more of the "react & fly off the handle" kind of person.  There have been many times where I have been hot headed & not reacted in a Christ-like manner - Afterwards (in that type of situation) I had to ask God for forgiveness for my behavior.
 
 
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17
 
What happens when a family member or a friend becomes an enemy?  For example - When a husband is physically abusing his wife-  Is that wife supposed to stay and continually "turn the other cheek" for more abuse?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  What the wife in this situation is NOT supposed to do is get even - don't fight fire with fire.  Also, she shouldn't just leave and ignore the problem.  She needs to remove herself from that situation but pray for her husband and do good by getting him some professional help.  This husband is not treating his wife as he would want to be treated - he needs to repent and the wife needs to stay away until he does repent.  And of course she needs to forgive him but she can forgive him without continually placing herself back into that situation.

As we see in Proverbs 17:17 both family & friends love us & are there for us both in good times and bad.  If a "friend" starts to mistreat you when times are getting tough, then maybe that person wasn't really a true friend in the first place.

Always try to treat "others" as you would want to be treated.  "Others" means family, friends, neighbors, strangers & enemies - that's EVERYONE!

 
 
Valentine Signature, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com

4 comments:

  1. I find that when I pray for someone who has hurt or angered me, the negative feelings dissolve. Thank you for these enlightened words!
    xo,
    Lisa

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  2. Cute blog! I found you on This Gal Cooks weekend blog hop. I am starting a blog party at: http://rediscovermom.blogspot.com/2013/02/tried-and-true-recipes-from-our-families.html. I hope you will join me!

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  3. What's helped me is to turn the matter over to God. That way I don't stew over ways to get revenge. Sometimes I have to remind myself that everyone suffers, even those who have caused me to suffer.

    I don't try to deny my hurt feelings nor pretend I like the persons who behaved hatefully toward me. But I do maintain common courtesy toward them always. Eventually, I am able to even be warm toward them, while still maintaining self-respect.

    Some people cannot bring themselves to take responsibility for their actions which caused us harm. This could be a matter of maturity. Even people who profess their faith in God have trouble acknowledging that they are imperfect, as we all are, and need His grace. I had one woman sugarcoat her direct act of sabotaging me at work when she asked if I had been the one who did the same action toward her later on. "Did you [do the action] during the time we were in conflict?" she asked me. I matter-of-factly explained, "No, that was the boss's decision to take that privilege from you. It's not my style to take matters into my own hands even when it's been done to me first." She was silent after that.

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