Tag Archive | love

Love Them Like an Enemy

Love Them Like an Enemy

I was having trouble loving someone I really should have been able to love.  She was a nice person and genuinely cared about others.  Yet, for some reason, she rubbed me the wrong way and I found myself fighting a constant battle to love her.  When I brought this dilemma up to a friend of mine, a pastor, he said something that made me pause:  “If you can’t treat her like a friend, treat her like an enemy.”

Treat her like an enemy?  That sounds harsh…but it made me think.  How are we supposed to treat our enemies?

Matthew 5:43-45 commands us to love them and pray for them:

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

This is also found in Luke 6:27-36

27“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Romans 12:20 tells us to take care of their material needs:

20On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

This is said in the context of loving one another:

Romans 12:9-21

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d]says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So, how are we to treat our enemies?  We are supposed to love them, pray for them, do good to them, bless them, give to them, take care of their material needs, rejoice with them, mourn with them, and ultimately live in harmony with them.  To me, it doesn’t sound that different than how we are to treat our friends.  So, as we go about our lives, let us endeavor to treat everyone as we are commanded to treat our enemies.

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