Enemies - Love or hate?
Like most people, we are individuals who try and get on with everyone. But no matter how hard we try, we are always going to have 'enemies' or people that dislike us for who we are, what we do and what we say.
It can become very easy for us to hate those who hate us but then there is another approach.....we can choose to love them no matter what they may say or do against us.
Why? Because you do not know how far showing love can actually impact somebody's life. Is it not easier to love somebody no matter what than to hate somebody? Is it worth it to have in the back of your mind that niggling thought that you hate someone?
I've had it happen to me before. I did not agree with what someone was doing. This was not a major issue but it's amazing how we can let the small things build up into something gigantic that consumes our every being. The funny thing was when asked why I hated this particular person, I could not think of a reason! It's when this happens that we have to change our attitude and choose to love rather than hate.
Love for enemies
43 ‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- Matthew 5:43-48 (NIVUK)
When I found out that God loves me and wants the best for me I began to question it. "Why me?" "I do not deserve this love!" "I have done some terrible things in my life and am not worthy of your love God"! The more I searched into this and understood the love of God, the more I began to appreciate my life and how my actions and words are so important. I've been hated in the past and have no doubts that I am hated now by some people. Does this bother me? No! Do I hate them for hating me? No! In fact, if given the opportunity, I would do my best to show compassion towards them, to try and support and encourage them. Why? Because not only is it in the word, but because I believe that those that hate me are hurting themselves or have been through emotional pain and all they need is to be shown compassion, love, support and encouragement.
I found myself being challenged greatly by what was being said in verse 47. It is so easy for us to greet someone we know but how about those we do not know. Unfortunately in todays society we try and avoid those who we do not know. But what about a simple act as a smile, a greeting, "how are you today?" Deep within I feel that certain people are crying out for someone to show them some love. They go around rebuking many people but inside they are yearning for someone to be their rock, their support, to have someone to share their problems with.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
- Romans 12:17-18 (NIVUK)
1A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
- Proverbs 15:1 (NIVUK)
It can be very difficult for us not to react back at those who hate us, say bad things about us, or those that are even trying to provoke us. But think about it....if we return with anger then the hatred, the arguments, the abuse increases. However, if we are kind and gentle in our answer, choosing not to react in the way intended, quite often this diffuses the situation. God has given us all we need to deal with those who hate us, those who are against us. All we have to do is to take hold of all that is said above in the verses and put it into action.
So do you have enemies? Do have people that even persecute you? How does it make you feel? If it fills you with anger, hatred and sorrow then go to God and pray. Hand it at his feet and ask for wisdom to help through the situation. The hardest thing is forgiving those who are against you but believe me when I say that if we forgive them, pray for them and share compassion and love for them, doorways of opportunity present themselves for us to speak to them, get to know them and encourage them. Why should we all be against each other when we can support, encourage and be there for each other?
Enemies - Love or Hate? -> I choose love all the time!