How To Love Our Enemies
Matthew 5:43-44: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and persecute you.
In Luke 10:27 Jesus told a man to love his neighbor.
Luke 10:29: But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
A good Samaritan saw a man who had been beaten and had some needs. He met those needs. Jesus definition of a neighbor is a person with a need that we can see and meet. God calls our attention to people with needs. When He calls our attention to a person with a need, that person is our neighbor.
How do we find out that we have an enemy? They usually do something bad to us or say something bad to us. When someone does or says something bad to us, God is probably calling our attention to them so that we will love them. That is their way of telling us that they need someone to love them. They will be the ones He wants us to love. When they do or say something bad to us or about us they are telling us: I need someone to love me.
The first Biblical step in loving our enemies is to bless them. Since we naturally don*t want to bless them, the proper way to bless them will have to be God*s idea. So the best way to find a way to bless your enemies is to ask the Lord to show you a way. If they are your enemy, they are probably not Christians. So the first prayer should probably be for God to save them. Even if they don*t quickly become Christians, your prayer might just change your attitude toward them.
This really works. It has worked in my relationship with enemies more than once. I had a particularly mean and hateful supervisor. Her favorite tactic was to give her employees a task that would take two hours when it was one hour before quitting time. She was trying to be tough and get the most work out of us. But in trying to be tough she went past that to being foolish. I began praying for her. After I began praying for her there was an occasion when she told me she wanted some particular work finished before lunch. It was about an hour until lunch time. She did not know that there was about 5 hours more of that work still outside the building. When I told her about it she said: I don*t care, I still want it done before lunch. She quickly realized her mistake and was embarrassed. I did not do it deliberately but I smiled. Then she really exploded. After that, she stopped playing her little game with me, and more importantly, my attitude toward her changed. I could no longer be angry with her. After that she noticed that I did things that she hadn*t noticed needed doing. She noticed that I was working harder and accomplished more than most of her other employees. She noticed that I was doing things she hadn*t yet told me to do. I was blessing her and she noticed. I was doing good to her and she noticed. She had no idea why her attitude toward me changed from the attitude of meanness to an attitude of respect. But I knew that it was because I had prayed for her.
Another reason that we should love our enemies is because God loves them. He gives them the same sunshine and the same rain that He gives His children. When we are His children we will more and more behave like He does.
Matthew 5:45: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Do you have any neighbors with a need? Love them. Do you have any enemies? Love them too.