you LOVE your ENEMY?
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-36).
All this month we’ve been talking about LOVE. Here’s a recap.
Love the LORD week 1;
First, GOD IS LOVE. (1John 4:8)
Second, GOD LOVES. (1John 4:9)
Third, HE LOVED US FIRST. (1John 4:19)
Last, GOD DIED FOR US. (1John 3:16)
Love OTHERS week 2:
Love The Brethren. (John 13:34)
Love Others. (1Thess 3:12)
Love to Visit the needy. (Jas 1:27)
Love our Enemies. (Luke 6:27)
Love His Appearing week 3:
We Look for His return. (Luke 12:37)
We Obey Him. (Luke 6:46)
We add Virtue, etc. (2Pet 1:5-11)
We Endure this life. (Matt 10:24)
This week we’ll look at the Lord’s command to Love our Enemy.
It’s unambiguous that we are to love our enemies. Who our enemies are varies. As much as it lies within us, we try to live at peace with all men (Rom 12:18), but there are some that just don’t like us, are rude, mean, or antagonistic to the church. It matters not why; Jesus taught us to LOVE our ENEMIES.
How are we to LOVE an ENEMY?
First, with EMPATHY. We need to have empathy for we were once enemies to the Lord.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).
“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1Cor 6:9-11).
No matter what a person may say to provoke us, we must remain NICE. The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (Jas 1:20)
“And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same” (Luke 6:33).
This teaching doesn’t mean we put ourselves in harm’s way. Paul avoided many attacks on his life by the Jews, but he still desired they be saved.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved” (Rom 10:1).
This next one is difficult, but we need to have a heart to EVANGELIZE.
Some will, some wont, but you’ll never know until you try. We seldom think about, nor even desire to teach an enemy the truth of the gospel.
I ask myself this question whenever interacting with an “enemy;” Could I invite them to worship despite our conflict? Look at this example:
Jesus sent Ananias to Saul of Tarsus to teach him the gospel. “Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:10-16).
Within the command to love our enemy is to be Merciful.
“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
Merciful means… compassionate, experiencing deep pity (lamentation) as God has for people who look to Him for help in their difficult situations. Consider the example of the stolen servant girl who told Naaman of a cure for leprosy. (2Kings 5:1-3). “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.”
Finally, and very importantly, YOUR forgiveness depends on it. Let’s read from our passage in Luke:
“For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil” (Luke 6:32-35). To love only those that love us is no better than the enemies themselves. Look at what Jesus taught:
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”
(Matt 6:14-15; Mt 18:35; Mr 11:25-26; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13).
People mistake these concepts as having to take abuse, pain, etc. That’s a mistake. We have authority to avoid our enemies attacks, if we do it without sin, and without denying the Lord.
Think about the Apostle Paul in Acts 23:12-31. Some of the very people he was trying to reach with the Gospel had sworn to lie in wait for him so they would have occasion to ambush and kill him. He loved those in Judaism who were persecuting him (Rom 10:1-3), but that didn’t mean he had to be killed if it could be avoided (see, Acts 9:25; 2Cor 11:33).
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”