Loving Your Neighbor and Your Enemy

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to 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.
Matthew 5: 44-45 NKJV

When we think of love we tend to think of it as something directed at those who care for us. We love our friends and family. That’s what we see all around us. Love is a positive emotion that we want to share with positive people.

It doesn’t always happen like that, but that’s how people tend to want it to happen. If we love those who love us, our hearts can’t get broken. Right? Sadly, no. There are different ways to love people and they don’t always match up. You can love someone romantically and they may only love you like a friend or a sister. It’s tough when that happens.

But putting romantic love aside, I want to look at what love looks like. As the above quote states, Jesus calls us to love one another, even our enemies. With the definition of love that society tends to go by, this is a strange request. What does it look like to love our enemies. Jesus tells us right in that verse. He calls us to bless them, do good to them, and pray for them.

Let’s look a little closer a those three things:

  • Bless your enemies: We are asked to bless our enemies. What does it mean to bless? Blessing someone is similar to wishing good things upon them. When someone wrongs you, it is easy to wish that they can feel your pain. Does that solve anything?

The answer is no. Blessing someone who has wronged you is the hard thing to do. It involved fighting against our flesh, our sinful nature.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Romans 12: 14 NKJV

 

  • Do good to your enemies: As with blessing our enemies, doing good to them is also something that can seem strange. We’re a society where bullying and revenge  are way too common of themes. People talk about getting someone back as if they’re just talking about the latest tv show. I know that not everyone thinks this way, but it is too common.

There’s a different between wanting to get someone back when you have a prank war and when you genuinely do not like someone. The thing with doing good to your enemy, it can start with NOT getting revenge. It can start with not looking down on them. It doesn’t mean to go out of your way to give them something

Loving your enemy is not walking away when they are in need. Being a good person to everyone and not excluding someone because you don’t like them. Doing good can begin with not repaying them with evil.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12: 17-21 NKJV

 

  • Pray for your enemies: We are to pray in everything we do. We tend to pray for our loved ones and for good things to happen. Sometimes we send up a quick, “Help me Lord” during stressful times. If we do this, saying a prayer for our enemies is doable.

In praying for them, I don’t mean a prayer of “help this idiot become a better person.” Too often we ask for God to fix what we think is wrong with others instead of asking Him to fix us. When we pray for our enemies, it is not a time to call them out as being at complete fault for our misfortune. Instead it is a time to ask for assistance on both sides.

Ask God to fix their heart, but also remember that you might not be in the right either. Pray for them out of a place of compassion. It can be difficult to do, but that’s what loving someone is.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NKJV

Loving someone isn’t meant to be easy at all times. Loving someone means loving them in good and bad. Loving the person even if you don’t agree with all their actions. Loving someone is showing compassion to all.

It is a choice to love your enemies. Yes, you fall in love with people and may not have any control in the matter, but loving someone as a person is completely different. You have a choice in loving your neighbors and your enemies. You have a choice in how you show your love.

The thing is, whether someone is your neighbor, you enemy, or something else, they are a person. We all were made for companionship. We were made to love one another. Love shouldn’t be based on who we think deserves it more. Love is available to all.

Before I go, I would like to tell you that I love you. I don’t know who you are, but I do care about you. I care what happens to you. I plan to pray for your. I plan to ask God to your life. I may never meet you in person, but that’s okay. I don’t care whether you have wronged in the past or will in the future. Everyday I’m working on loving those around. Today, it’s easy to love.

Just thought you should know that someone loves you.

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