Love Your Enemies
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28
One of the most difficult commands in Scripture is for Christians to love their enemies. I would say that apart from Christ this is an impossibility because it requires too much. Every one of us has experienced unjust suffering at the hands of another person, and yet Jesus is very clear that we are to love those who hurt and mistreat us. He gives us three ways of accomplishing this.
1. Do good to those who hate you.
Doing good is an action, and we should be ready and willing to do kind things to those who could care less about us. Actions speak loudly and kindness toward someone who is being nasty can be a way of showing them the undeserved kindness of God.
2. Bless those who curse you.
We tend to give very little thought to this part of the verse. We read over it without it leaving much of an impression on our hearts and actions. Bless those who curse you is all about how we speak to those who hurt us and how we speak about them when they are not around. Does venom pour out of our mouths? Are we bitter? Are we nice to their faces but say things like “I can’t stand her”, “I hope she get’s what she deserves” behind their back?
Bless those who curse you requires that we speak well to and about those who hurt us, make fun of our faith and belittle what we love.
They, in whose tongues is the law of kindness, can give good words to those who give bad words to them.
– Matthew Henry
3. Pray for those who mistreat you.
Jesus does not give us any loopholes. We have been told that we are to love our enemies through action and through words, but we can’t stop there. We are also called to pray for them, and for many of us this is the last thing we want to do.
But God has chosen to use prayer as a means of bringing about His will, and it is through prayer that people can be changed.
We should pray that God will grab hold of their hearts and change them into God lovers instead of God haters. We know the eternal punishment that is awaiting those who do not believe, and we should plead with God that through His mercy and grace He will save them just like He saved us.
We talk a lot about being like Jesus. This is not a light request. Praying for our enemies and doing good to those who hurt us is being like Jesus. He prayed for His enemies while He was dying on the cross.
The more regularly we pray for those who hate us the more will grow in compassion for them. It may be very difficult at first, but through our prayers God may not only change the people who have hurt us but we will be changed as well. And through it all we will experience a peace knowing that we are bringing everything to God in prayer.
In case you missed it, here is a link to Wednesday’s post: Four Ways To Pray In Suffering