Matthew 5:43-48 English Standard Version (ESV)
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 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.46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
If you have hung around in Christian circles for any length of time you know the above verse or have at least heard it. You also know that this is a difficult task. If you were to ask me who my enemy was I could not come up with a single face in my mind or someone that just irritates me to the core. (That was written 7 months ago and since then I can say I have acquired a few “enemies”) But as a teacher there was always a kid or two that really just rubbed me the wrong way and so I got to thinking about how can I love those kids in my classroom that drive me crazy. Well, let me tell you in all those years of teaching I just stuck it out and didn’t worry about “loving” them. I simply dealt with them. I realize now that we need to pray and that is important but I think there is another step we can take and this is where it may be hard.
Get to know them. And I don’t mean just say hi and smile at them. Although that would be a nice start. I mean actually engage them in conversation. Invite them over for dinner or go out and try to have a conversation with them. Don’t focus on what makes you angry with them. Try to truly learn about them and their personality. What it is that makes them your enemy? Easier said then done right?
The reason I write this is because I have found that sometimes when I first meet someone I don’t really care for them or maybe we don’t click. Then before I know it they actually start to annoy me and upset me by things that they say or do. Then as time goes on and I begin to understand the person and where they are coming from something starts to happen. I start to like them and make connections with them and understand them better. I understand this is very difficult. Even has a write this I think, I don’t even want to see these people that are my “enemies” but I also need to see them as God sees them, as sinner just like me. I am not “better” than they are and they are not better than me. I believe people are the way they are because of life experiences. That doesn’t mean we should allow these people to walk all over us or take advantage of us. Sometimes the only thing we can do for them is pray. But knowing their past can help us to sympathize and possibly even help them and point them toward Christ.
What are some ways or suggestions you have to love your enemy?