Love Your Enemies

Hello Everybody!! I'm sorry it has been so long since I have updated y'all. We are in a season of life right now where we have been stationary coming up on two months. I have been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and what to post.  My blog mainly features what I learn about my Lord, myself, my family, and God's creation as I travel. So being stationary, I was worried anything I wrote about would be boring. As events unfolded, this topic of loving your enemies was pressed on my heart. Then my pastor gave a sermon on the topic and I knew that was my green light to start writing. So here we go.

Love your enemies.

Yep, you read that right.

Isn't that such a strange concept? Our culture has always been supportive of a self satisfying attitude. Culture tells us to look out for number one and those who are mean to us, aren't worth it. This age of technology makes it so convenient to burn people online. It's so much easier to send a nasty text or post a mean comment about someone that it is to say those same things to their face. Am I right? With one rash thought and a press of a button... hearts are broken. Relationships are torn. Reputations are shattered. It's a lose lose situation for everyone. Guess what, God has something to say about this topic.

Love your Enemies Luke 6:27-36
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do 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. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And 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.35 But 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Now let's break this passage down together. First I would like to invite you to slowly read through each verse. Take the time to soak in every word. Let's start with the title. 


LOVE

The first word is love. That alone has depth to it. I highlighted every time Jesus uses the word, love. He says it a total of 7 times! Every piece of scripture is God breathed and important, but it must be even more so for Jesus to repeat himself 7 times. I think we as humans use the word love so much to the point that, it no longer holds as deep a meaning in our eyes. We say I love that new movie, or I love chocolate. (But seriously if you don't love chocolate, contact me we need to have a discussion.) That's not really what love means though. God is love. (See 1 Corinthians 13) Love has deep attributes. It requires such a deep devotion to another person, that we are willing to sacrifice our own preferences to provide theirs. Their desires and wants become ours. That is true love. Now as much as we may want, we can not feel that way about chocolate, or Star wars, or Instagram. God doesn't call us to just tolerate our enemies, or even like them. He says to love them.  

YOUR

I love how God knows what we are going to think, say, and do before the idea forms in our minds. Some of you may feel overwhelmed already. It's okay, your not alone. God asks us to love OUR enemies.  Not your parents enemies, not your spouses enemies, not your siblings enemies. Just your enemies. Take comfort in that. 

ENEMIES


Now, let's define enemies. The dictionary defines it as follows. En-e-my noun A person who is activity opposed or hostile to someone or something. Are any of you thinking, PHEW, It's a good thing I don't have any enemies. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but if you have accepted God's gift of salvation, you have enemies. The bible tells us that's inevitable. (See 2 Timothy 3:12, and Matthew 5:10-12) So how do we cope with constant persecution from a world that hates Christians more than anything else? Well... That's where our faith is like a tree. When we are new believers, we are but a seedling. Small, weak, fragile, and blissfully ignorant. Trees have to be planted in good soil or they will not grow. As they soak in water, and sunlight, they get the nutrients they need to grow into a large, unmovable tree. One with deep roots that will not be easily torn up. One able to withstand even the harshest of circumstances. As we soak in God's living water, and the nutrients of his words, our faith grows. Our trust deepens and we learn to lean on Him. Our roots run so deep with Christ that our very being becomes a strive to live like and for Him. What kind of tree are you? When the storm comes, will you be rooted and unmovable? Or will you be easily shaken, knocked over by the first gusty wind? 

Verse 27-28

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 

Alright, Let's look at the first two verses of this passage. Think about people who have wronged you. Think about people who have judged or mistreated you because of your faith. Or because of your skin color. Or because of the amount of Zero's in your bank account. The list could go on and on. When people treat us that way, doesn't if feel hard to tolerate them? Let alone love them? How can we possibly love those who persecute us? Honestly, I struggle with that myself. So this is when I have to look to God's word, and not my own.   

2 Corinthians 4:15 
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

There we have it. All of our persecution is for HIS AND OUR benefit. When people see how you respond to trials, they wonder what's up with you? Why do you have grace for people who you should hate? Why are you different? When someone asks you that my friend, everything is worth it. Our purpose in life, is to be disciples and expand God's kingdom. If I could bring one person to the Lord in my life, I would gladly accept everything the world has to throw at me, because pain is temporary. When we die to ourselves and take up our cross to follow Jesus, we please Him. My goal in life is to live to please Him. I just want to hear, well done faithful servant. Are you living a life that pleases Him? 

Verse 29-30

29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Whew. (Picture me leaning back and cracking my knuckles here.) These next two verses, may be the hardest for me. One of the difficult parts for me about reading the bible is know when to take it literally*, and when it's using metaphors. So, should we take this passage literally, or is it a metaphor? Let's look to Jesus for an answer. Think about Jesus's time on Earth. Did he literally turn the other cheek? Did he literally give the clothes off his back? The answer is yes. So He meant this passage literally. Does that mean you should literally always turn the other cheek? Should you literally always take off your clothes for other people? Well, let's think about that. If a woman is caught in an abusive relationship, should she just stay there? Letting herself endure that? Absolutely not. If someone is being aggressive with you, and rips off an article of clothing. Should you take off the rest of your clothes and hand them to them? Never.** You have to use your best judgment in every situation. God knows that this can be difficult for us sometimes, and that's why he gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will press on your heart what's the right thing to do when the situation arises. 



Verse 31

31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Ah, here it is. Do you remember your parents quoting this verse to you? This is the golden rule verse. I think it's very popular among parents of young children. This verse still holds tremendous value, and it makes me smile to know that it has not been forgotten over time. 


Verse 32-34

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And 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.

Now this passage raises again the question of if we need to take this literally. I say yes. I interpret this passage as a call to serve. If this passage is saying that it's not enough to just love those who love us, and to do good to those who do good to us, then what does God want us to do? Well, the answer is in the next verse, but I want to talk about the real life application. How can we actually love those who hate us? We can show them grace like Jesus shows us. Why should we do this? Because Jesus showed us love and grace even though we don't deserve it. He calls us to do the same. How can we do good to those who won't or can't do good to us? We serve. Feeding the homeless is one great example. They can't give us anything in return. But, we can abundantly bless them by packing them a lunch then sharing the gospel with them. How are you showing goodness to those who can't or won't show it back to you?


Verse 35-36

35 But 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.


This passage may raise a valid question in some that I'm going to address. That is, Does this verse mean we have to love our enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything in return in order to be Children of the most high? The short answer, No. 
Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Here's how you become a child of God, straight out of the bible. What he is saying in Luke 6:35-36 is this is how to act like a child of God. He is calling us to love, and to serve like he did for us. Will you choose to answer yes today? People get inspired when they hear they are not alone, comment below if you are going to take a stand and answer yes to Jesus today.

I didn't do this alone!!


The sermon I spoke of at the beginning of this post was given by my pastor, Dave Carlson. This post is inspired by his words. He also helped me edit this post to make sure everything was bibically accurate. Listen to his original sermon here. 



* One example of when the bible is speaking literally is creation. I believe God literally created the world in six days and that happened 6,000-10,000 years ago. But that's another post for another time.  

** (I just want to say here that if you or someone you know are in either of those situations right now, I beg you. Please reach out to someone. You will not be judged, or blamed.) 



Comments

  1. Nice post! Love the amount of effort put into this.

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    1. Thank you, but it was just Jesus speaking through my fingers. Glad you liked it!

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  2. I've been meaning to comment for a long time, sorry it took me so long. This is a wonderful post. I've been working on a blog post myself with the same topic! It's such an important but difficult thing to do!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, it can be a challenge. I'm excited to read your post!

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