The Bible says to “love your enemies”, but we should also be praying for them too. Steph Nickel reminds us to show God’s love at every opportunity, and to teach our children how to respond in a a godly way.
Love Your Enemies
Today let’s read excerpts from Matthew 5:43-48:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have . . . And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? . . . You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
When you think of the word enemy, there may be those who immediately come to mind. However, for many of us, this is not the case.
Pray For Those Who Persecute You
There are those we don’t get along with, those we would prefer not to spend time with, and those with whom we have personality clashes. But to actually call them our enemies . . . well, we may not go that far.
In either case—whether we have enemies or simply don’t get along with certain people—we must take these verses to heart. We must also teach our children how to respond in a godly way to those with whom they have problems.
We are to love and pray for those who persecute us, those who make our lives difficult—and at times, almost unbearable.
God’s Definition Of Love
Let’s consider God’s definition of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Are we kind and patient with the difficult people in our life? Do we envy them or boast about how much better we are than them? Are we rude? Do we insist on having our own way just on principle? Are we irritable, taking it out on them—and perhaps others—because of what they’ve done or said? How easy it is to resent them!
We may not rejoice at their wrongdoing, but do we consider getting even and treating them as they treat us? Or instead, do we rejoice in the truth of God’s Word and ask for His help to do things His way? As hard as it is to imagine, love truly does bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. It never ends.
Show God’s Love At Every Opportunity
Does this mean we shouldn’t speak up when we are being bullied and abused? Does it mean we shouldn’t do so when others are facing this situation? Does it mean we shouldn’t protect those who are being victimized?
I don’t believe this is the case in any of these situations, but I do believe we must seek to show God’s love at every opportunity. I also believe we ought to pray for both the abused and the abuser, the one who is hurting and the one who is inflicting the hurt.
Although I do not have firsthand experience dealing with an abuser, I know those who have. It was during the time the abuse was going on that it became clear to me that we don’t truly love another person if we let them get away with destructive behaviour.
Seeking the help we need and encouraging them to do the same not only benefits us but also the other person. There are times it becomes necessary to break ties with whomever it is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to pray for them. I don’t claim this is ever easy, but it is part of the healing process. And when we seek to live as God commands, we may just be amazed at what happens within us and within others.
As His Follower, You Are Called To Love Your Enemies
Living as God wants us to isn’t easy. In fact, it’s impossible without His indwelling Holy Spirit. God is the One who gives us the desire and the ability to obey His commands. Jesus pointed out in the passage we read today that anyone can love those who love them in return. However, as His followers, we are called to love even our enemies.
Let’s seek ways to do so and talk with our children about how they can deal with those who give them a hard time.
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