How to love your enemies

We have all heard it. We should love our enemies. Seems impossible doesn’t it? After all, your enemies are horrible and hateful towards you. They desire bad things for you, or even actively seek to harm you. It seems perfectly natural that you should hate your enemy in return. Don’t they deserve hatred in return for their hatred? How could they deserve love instead?

If we look at our enemy’s behaviour as a transaction, as if we were buying or trading something, then certainly hate for hate seems right. There’s another way to say that; an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. How can we bring love and peace to a world where anger and hate are responded to in kind? It will only amplify the suffering.

Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:38–39

You have surely heard that before, but it still doesn’t help you to know how to love your enemies. I am here to tell you the simple way to love your enemies. It is simple, but you must desire to be free from the chains of retaliation and rise to the challenge,

See each person through the eyes of God.
See each person as God’s precious child.

Every person is God’s precious creation, absolutely beloved. Imagine you met the child of a King, or even just a modern day celebrity. You would likely treat them with a level of respect that you do not bestow on the every day person, such as a cashier, garbage collector or homeless beggar. Yet God looks at everyone with the same love in His eyes. Every single person is equally precious to God, and thus equally deserving of the same love and reverence.

This new perspective turns the world from a place filled with hateful, ignorant, selfish people that are deserving of punishment and death, into a place full of God’s precious children, of which we are one. Everyone becomes our sibling in God’s love.

Our siblings are acting in ignorance because they are suffering. Our siblings are hurting, and it is our job as their brother or sister to love them, not hurt them more. They don’t know what they are doing. They are retaliating against the hate and pain that has been inflicted on them, but you will show them love, because you are filled with God’s infinite love.

You will never run out of love to give, because your love for them comes directly from God.

God loves you. God loves your friends. God loves your enemies. God loves us all. See each person as that precious beloved child of God, and honour them.

Here’s what the Bible says about loving your enemies:

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:44

Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.

Luke 6:28

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Luke 6:35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.

Luke 6:27-36

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 5:43-48

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:7

Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14

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