An enemy is anyone who has taken a personal interest in harming someone. Although it isn’t always easy, in fact, I guess it’s probably never easy…we are commanded by God to love our enemies.
Jesus, himself, said “You have heard it 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 sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-45
You may be asking yourself WHY???
The first reason I believe we should love our enemies is because holding on to anger and grudges will allow us to be overcome with evil. [See previous blog post on this topic here: https://proverbsmomma.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/how-to-control-your-temper/%5D
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20
The second reason we should love our enemies is because in doing so, our enemy loses. The reason someone decides to do something malicious to someone else is to get a reaction out of them. If you get angry when they do something to harm you, you are letting them have control of you. By keeping your cool and praying for them despite their evildoing, you are not only being a great example for Christ, but you are also allowing God to take care of the situation, rather than putting it in your hands and prolonging the problem.
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:19-21
The third, and probably the most important, reason we should love our enemies is because it is what Jesus would do.
Even when the people of His time mocked Him, beat Him, drove nails through His hands and feet, pierced his flesh with thorns and a spear, in the end He shouted out to God and said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
He did not hold malice in His heart towards the people. He prayed to God for his enemies. During his time on this earth, He ministered to the lowest of the low. He did not care about social status, wealth, profession, etc. He ministered to everyone and did so with a willing spirit because God was working through Him.
Do you remember those W.W.J.D. bracelets that were immensely popular in the 90’s and early 2000’s? Maybe it was just because of the circle of people I hung out with, or maybe because I live in the Bible belt (Georgia), but everyone used to wear those. I used to wear multiple bracelets at a time in different colors (because if I remember correctly, each color was supposed to represent something). Why don’t people LITERALLY wear Jesus on their sleeves anymore? We SHOULD! They are a great reminder to think and act like Christ.
Additional Verses of Reference:
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 NLT
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32