As christian people, we’ve always heard that we are to love our enemies. Do good to those who use you. Turn the other cheek.
The dictionary describes an enemy as a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against; or an adversary or opponent.
So an enemy can go from someone who rubs you the wrong way all the way to someone who wants to literally kill you. How is it possible that we can love our enemies when we think about the more extreme sense of the word?
In all honesty, we can’t. In our own human ways, we are incapable of loving people like this. We have a hard enough time loving people who are different from us and not really even an enemy as described above.
In some cases we can make up our mind to look past someone who treats us bad. We can make sure to treat them in a kind way, help them when they have a problem, support them any way we can. We can walk away rather than argue. We can smile and be pleasant rather than give them a dirty look or flip them off. Sometimes it is within our human power to make a choice to treat others as we would like to be treated. There are other times when, in our own strength, it is just impossible to be loving.
Obviously we look to our role model, Jesus, and see how he lived. He truly loved people. It didn’t matter if they agreed with him, if they were despised by the general population, if they hated him, or if they put him to death. He loved mankind. He came with the purpose to show the love of the Father to a fallen world.
Without the love of the Father living within us, and with us staying out-of-the-way and allowing that love to come through, we will not be able to truly love our enemies. But, the power of the Spirit living within us is more than able to do what we can’t.
We have to come to an end of ourselves, just as in the case of grace. We are totally unable to keep the commandments and live a perfect life that God commands. The ten commandments are a tutor that leads us to the fact that we are incapable of fulfilling this requirement.
Thankfully the New Covenant took effect when Jesus died and rose again. The free gift of God’s grace cleansed us from our sinful nature and made us new creatures in Christ. Now, because of Him, we can love our enemies. We are now one with God and it is his spirit that loves through us, just as Jesus did when he was in his earthly body.
So, loving our enemies is mostly something we are unable to do apart from the love and strength of the Spirit that lives within us.
Below is the link list for the February 2014 Sychroblog on “Loving Our Enemies.”
- Todi Adu – Love is War, War in Love
- Carol Kuniholm – Circles of Love
- Loveday Anyim Snr – What does it mean to love our enemies?
- K. W. Leslie – Love Your Enemies
- Doreen A Mannion – Easy to Love
- Liz Dyer – Uncomfortable Love
- Mike Donahoe – Love Your Enemies Really
- EmKay Anderson – On Loving While Angry
- Glenn Hager – The Opposite of Love is Not Hate
- Josie Anna – On Love Because I am Loved
- Edwin Aldrich – Loving All of Our Neighbors
- Margaret Boelman – Repentance
- Caedmon Michael – A Veteran and a Pacifist
- Kirra Antrobus – Love Your Enemies
- Jeremy Myers – How do you heap burning coals on the heads of your enemies?