“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 causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Matthew 5:43-45
An enemy is anyone who is against you. It’s someone who is not for you. An enemy can take the form of a family member, a classmate, a co-worker, a neighbor, or even a fellow believer. We all have enemies, but Jesus tells us to love them! How is that possible?
Well, keep reading, because the answer lies immediately after Jesus tells us to love our enemies. “Pray for those who persecute you,” He says. Now, it’s mighty hard to pray for our enemies when we’re really determined to hold onto that anger. Why? Because when we start praying for them, God has a way of softening our hearts. We begin looking at that person as God sees them.
Slowly, God works in our lives and changes our hearts as we pray for them. This is what Jesus did for us when we were His enemies: He went to the cross. Jesus prayed for us while on the cross paying the penalty for our sins. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” Jesus prayed.
Accepting Jesus’ forgiveness changes US so that we’re able to forgive OTHERS.
Does that mean you’re going to like your enemies? In most cases, probably not. But it does mean that God can give you the supernatural power to love your enemies and to respond with love and respect no matter how they treat us.
Let’s follow Jesus’ example, in faith. When we give God control in this area, our enemies no longer control us.