“How to Love Your Enemies” – Matthew 5:44

Matthew 5:44

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

What is the biblical definition of an enemy? In this text, an “enemy” is someone openly hostile, animated by deep-seated hatred. It implies irreconcilable hostility, proceeding out of a personal hatred, bent on inflicting harm.* Wow! An enemy is not just someone you dislike. It is someone who despises your very breath.

Many times, followers of Christ let this idea layaway to rot because loving those who want to harm you is impossible. However, if Jesus commands it of all his followers, then it is possible. Here are some thoughts that I hope will help as you deal with your enemies.

  1. If your enemy has hurt you and the pain is deep, pray that God will heal the hurt. Healing will release the power of the enemy over your life. 
  2. As the text says, pray for your enemy.
  3. Try to look beyond your hurt and see your enemy as an opportunity to show God’s glory through love. To love is to forgive and point to Jesus. Try to see your enemy as a human who needs redemption. 
  4. Loving enemies is a divine work. You need the armor of God. Spend lots of time alone with God on this matter so He can strengthen you. 
  5. You were an enemy of Christ, but Jesus loved you, and as a follower of Christ, you have that same Spirit of love living in you. 
  6. Loving your enemies does not mean you give them the keys to your life. It’s ok to set some boundaries.
  7. The enemy might be you. Pray that God would search you and reveal any hostile aggression in you. 
  8. You are a child of God and the real enemy of God and His family is already defeated. Any personal enemy of yours is being influenced by God’s enemy who has already lost. Your enemy will either go down with God’s enemy or change over to the winning side. Your prayer should be the latter option. 

Imagine the difference this command could make on the climate we are facing at this moment in the world. Families restored, hatred dissipated, and sinners free from the devil’s authority.

One more thing. If you can love your enemy, you can love anyone.

While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:

  • Which of the points above resonated most with you? Why? 
  • Who is an enemy in your life right now that you need God to help you love? 
  • Are there ways in which you might be your own worst enemy? 
  • Take some time to pray over this and about anyone who might be on your enemy list. 
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you? 
Explain – what does the passage mean? 
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today? 
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
* Enemy. In Strong’s exhaustive concordance. https://biblehub.com/greek/2190.htm  

Pastor Stephen Williams

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