Why Should You Love Your Enemies? How Can We Do That?

Why should we love our enemies? How do we show love to someone that may show hatred toward us? 🤔Let’s discuss.

Do you encounter individuals who deliberately hinder your progress, going out of their way to obstruct you? Whether it’s someone you frequently interact with or a hidden adversary, they seem to expend considerable energy ensuring your lack of success.

In this message, we will delve into the concept of “loving your enemies.” We will explore the identities of our enemies, the reasons behind loving them, and the practical ways in which we can demonstrate love towards them. Our society often exalts vengeance and reprisal, but as devout followers of God, we are called to embrace a loftier standard.

Through this exploration, we will come to realize that loving our enemies is not only an act of obedience to God but also a catalyst for transformation in our own lives and in the lives of those who oppose us. By fervently praying, seeking God’s guidance, and exemplifying kindness and compassion, we can navigate challenging relationships and actively strive for reconciliation.

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Are there individuals in your life that seem to go out of their way to get in your way? Persons who seem to spend lots of energy making sure you are unsuccessful? It could be someone you interact with on a frequent basis or even someone that is behind the scenes – causing havoc for you unbeknownst to you.

This could be someone in your family, in your job, at school, or even, believe it or not, in your place of worship.

What are we to do when there is someone that is focused on creating misery in your life?

In previous messages, we have discussed the fact that the norms of today’s society and culture seem to glorify tit for tat, revenge, and an eye for an eye.  In this message, we will explore who our enemies are, why we should love them, and how we can show love toward them.

Who are my enemies?

First, an important question is ‘Who are my enemies?’. For the sake of this discussion, let’s identify the types of individuals that could be considered our enemies.  

  • Those who resist you
  • Those who contradict you
  • Those who cross you
  • Lastly, those who antagonize you

Is there someone you know that fits one or more of these descriptions? Keep that individual in mind as we continue this message.

Why Should You Love Your Enemies

Let’s continue by exploring the answer to the first question posed in this message, “Why should you love your enemies?”

The first reason you should love your enemies is because God first loved us.

God loves you, regardless of what you have done.  He loves you despite your mistakes.  He loves you despite your actions that may have harmed another.  God loves all of us in a way we cannot possibly comprehend.  God loves all of humanity, despite how humanity has mistreated and turned from Him over the ages.  God loves every human being on earth, regardless of their role in the world. 

Another reason we should love our enemies is that God wants us to experience the joy that only comes from holding His light in our heart and sharing it with others.  My friends, living with God’s light in you is an indescribable experience. When you seek to walk with God in your life, He will equip you with a presence of patience, compassion, and empathy that will shine upon everyone you meet. More on this a bit later.

A third reason I would like to share why we should love our enemies is because it proves to others that we are walking with God.  In previous messages, I explained how I have been treated very badly in the workplace but responded with kindness, empathy, and compassion towards my accusers.  In these circumstances, I asked God for the strength to return love and kindness for adversity because I knew it was what God would have me do.  When I returned kindness towards those who mistreated me, it demonstrates to everyone in that space, including your accuser that you hold something within you that is not the status quo, that is not the norm in our current day and age.  Responding in kindness to someone mistreating you can really have a profound effect on them – even if it is not immediately apparent. 

How can we love our enemies?

Let’s now move on to the second question posed in this message.  How can we do it?  How can we love our enemies?

God asks us to show love to one another, regardless of who the individual may be – enemy or not.  Love to a stranger, love to someone you care about, love to someone you work with, and so on.  Of course, love will show up differently with each individual, and there are many facets of expressing love to others.  Compassion, kindness, empathy, generosity, forgiveness, listening, appreciation, and acts of service are just some of the many ways we can show love to one another – even when it is not deserved.

Let us explore several ways we can love our enemies.

#1 Pray for strength, guidance, and wisdom.

God sees all things and is aware of all of the activity surrounding the individual in your life causing you angst and strife.  We can pray to God, asking Him to give us the strength to remain calm when interacting with this individual.  As an aside, I have personally experienced this in my family, where someone had a knack for behaving so badly that I would lose my temper. I had to pray to God as I interact with this individual to be equipped with a level of calm regardless of the bad behavior that would be unfolding before my eyes.  Being calm instead of losing my temper is showing love to this individual.

We can pray for guidance on maneuvering through difficult circumstances the individual is creating that are designed to cause problems for us.  We can pray for wisdom as to how to protect ourselves from the individual as well as wisdom on how to behave or carry ourselves around the individual.  How we carry ourselves around the individual creating problems for us can be a way to show love towards them. We can also pray that God will intervene in circumstances unbeknownst to us behind the scenes, that if your enemy seeks to cause chaos or discord for you, ask God to intercede and protect you from harm’s way.

In praying for strength, guidance, and wisdom, we can show love to our enemies by practicing restraint and calm despite the individual’s behavior. We can show love to our enemies by being peaceful towards them even when they are not peaceful towards us. As mentioned earlier, peace in response to bad behavior can have a profound effect on an individual that is counting on getting a rise out of you.  In many situations, kindness can neutralize bad behavior being directed at you.

#2 Pray for justice

What can we do when our enemy is behind the scenes? When we don’t even know who our enemy is but we are suffering due to their behavior.  Perhaps there is someone filled with jealousy and envy that goes out of their way to make you stumble at work behind the scenes.  You know something is wrong.  You know someone is causing harm to your reputation but you don’t know who.

God knows.  If there are circumstances at the hands of your enemy that create unfair or unjust outcomes for you, pray for justice.  If we ask God for justice, He will see to it that there is justice.  Those who persecute you or cause you strife will be dealt with as God sees fit. This may transpire in a way that is visible or invisible to you, but you can trust that justice will be done.

Justice may come in a form that is apparent to you in the short term but also knows that God may orchestrate justice that is served in the long term. Either way, justice will be served. 

How does this show love to our enemy? God is the only one that knows how to order this individual’s path that will yield an outcome that is for their good. In doing so, God’s love is realized in these individuals, pointing them in the right direction.

#3 Pray for your enemies

Lastly, let us explore the idea of praying for our enemies.  We can pray for the individuals who seek to bring chaos into our lives.  Perhaps an individual is seeking to undermine you because they feel jealous of your favor and influence that naturally comes from walking in step with God. Only God knows the root cause of your enemy’s behavior and only He knows what is needed in their lives.

I’d like to share an example with you.  In this ministry’s social media accounts, there are individuals that post messages expressing hatred towards the community, insulting others expressing their faith and even sharing blasphemous words of hatred towards God. When this first started happening, I was shocked and appalled.  I do not know the reason someone would come into our community and make the time to post such hateful comments, but they do.

I would certainly consider these individuals enemies of this ministry because they go out of their way to cross and antagonize our community.  How do I handle this?  When this occurs, I now make a point to add the individual’s name to a prayer list and I take out time to pray for the list of those who have behaved as enemies to this ministry.  I do not know their story, but God does – and I know praying for them shall bring His light into their lives in a way that only He knows to do that will meet them where they are and hopefully, eventually, turn their heart towards Him.  

In this message, we have explored the answers to many questions about our enemies.  Who are our enemies? Why should we love our enemies? How can we love our enemies? I pray that the approaches we have discussed in this message will equip you with instructions on the next steps for the enemies in your life.  To equip you with guidance on how to carry yourself around your enemies and the prayers we can utilize to help us navigate our circumstances.  Please remember God is with you and will help you to fight against your enemies, but also know that God may very well use His light in you to turn the tides of the behavior of your enemies to a new chapter in life that may very well lead to His light dwelling in them.

Are you interested in discovering more about the guidance offered in this message? Learn more in the companion article Going Deeper with the Word – Why Should You Love Your Enemies? How Can We Do That?

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