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Love Your Enemies

In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus is teaching us to think and love like our Heavenly Father does. He's telling us to look beyond ourselves and to act differently than the rest of the world. Loving our enemies is a hard one to follow. But once we get the hang of this, it's much easier than we ever thought it could be. Read what Jesus says below, then read my life lesson following that.

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons [and daughters] of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." WEB

Love friends and enemies
Image courtesty of Nina Strehl via Unsplash

By loving our enemies, forgiveness is automatic, and revenge (from the previous verses Matthew 5:38-42) is a thing of the past. It frees our soul and brings peace that God intends for us. If God loves these people who offend us, who are we to do anything less? That's how I grasped this lesson that Jesus is teaching here. By praying for these people, they may change for the better. If not, then God will handle it. Find your peace in knowing that God will take care of the situation. God wants us to have peace; otherwise, we're a prisoner to a vengeful spirit. 

Jesus spoke a lot about love. Because if you can become full of Christlike love for others, all of this spite and all of those grudges disappear. Spite and grudge weigh us down and prevent us from doing our duties for the Lord. Like any other things Jesus teaches us, we need God's help to achieve these acts of love. That means we must accept Christ as our Savior and let His Loving Spirit guide us through what will be very difficult for many to accomplish. As I've mentioned before, I was raised to be vengeful. So, it took me several years to grasp this and practice it - failing often - before it became and felt natural to NOT be vengeful. If someone doesn't like me or mistreats me, I simply ask God to help that person, and I move on. Sometimes, I just stay away from that person. Jesus never asked me to be a verbal punching bag or to let others take advantage of my kind nature; he asked me to pray for people who treat me this way. So, I do that, and I forgive them and love them, and I continue to do His work. 

There's only so much time in a day. And I have only 1 life to teach others how to honor and glorify God. If I spend that time on revenge or wasting it to help those who don't want help, I'm not using my God-given purpose and gifts wisely. I've already spent too much time doing that. We all have a purpose and gifts that God has given us. And it all starts with love. Jesus taught us so much about how to use these gifts to help others find Him. Let's be naturally symbolic of that love Jesus was teaching during his life on this earth. Others may follow our lead. Others may not. Some may be moved by our prayers even if they don't know we're praying for them. Some may not. Even if we have to move away from those who focus on destroying our spirit or taking advantage of us, we can still love them and pray for them. 

Go now and love your enemies. Pray for them. Let God handle the situation. Who knows? It might even change someone else's attitude toward God, you, and others.




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