Most likely, you are aware that Jesus says to love our enemies. But who are our enemies? People far away who don't like our country? Someone else we don't really know but doesn't really like us? That seems like it is then not so hard to "love our enemies".
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)
We are to not only love our enemies, but we are to bless those that curse us. We are to do good to those that hate us (not take revenge). And when someone despitefully uses us, we are to pray for them. We read also in Luke
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 6:27-28)
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 6:34-35)
But what about the people right next to us, close to us, who we see all the time...Is it a bit harder to love them? From personal experience, I think it can be.
Is this the right attitude to have? Are we supposed to be happy when our enemies suffer?
In the Old Testament, God laid out for the Israelites the way to love their enemies~they were to help their enemies even then.
If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him,
thou shalt surely help with him. (Exodus 23:4-5)
Here is how David acted towards his enemies:
But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother. (Psalm 35:13-14)
In Proverbs we are told
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. (Proverbs 25:21-22)
Surely we can learn from Stephen...
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59-60)
And our very Saviour Himself
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (1 Peter 2:23)
Here are some more verses to learn from...
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. (Romans 12:14)
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. (Romans 12:20-21)
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)
Thanks for stopping by.
This a hard topic, we all know someone that is less then lovable or rub us in the wrong way, showing "LOVE" and blessing them when they do us wrong over and over again is not easy!ReplyDelete
Thanks for this taught provoking post!
Thank you for this post. You're right that it is often more difficult to love the ones nearest to us. Thank you for the reminder.ReplyDelete
Mrs. Q, we think it's this very topic that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. It takes real spiritual maturity to put oneself behind all others... including those that hate or persecute you. Striking back at someone seems almost reflexive... but loving the "unloveable" (at least to us) must be purposeful. Thank you for this post... always a good reminder of the forgiving spirit and heart of our Lord. Blessings!ReplyDelete
A great post! A lot to think about! :o)ReplyDelete
Mrs. Q, thank you for this wonderful post. This is something I give much thought to. I admit that I don't always find it easy or pleasant to be kind to those who treat me with unkindness or derision. And yet that is just what our beloved Saviour commands me and I wish above all things to obey Him. When He was spit upon, He could have destroyed His attacker with but a word. Instead He permitted Himself to be led to the cross in the place of His attackers. May God grant me the grace to be as His Son was, to give kindness for evil and blessing where I receive cursing.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful verses.