Believe it or not the subject of “Love your enemies” is just as much therapeutic for me as it will be for you. Before I have ever started blogging, I have always enjoyed writing. Sometimes I would write to God about my concerns, worries, fears and even anger toward others. I have also been very good at writing people, especially if someone has hurt me, my family or church. There have been many times in my life where I have been able to relate to Peter the disciple of Jesus. For those of you who have never heard the true story, Peter took his sword and cut off a mans ear because they were coming to take Jesus away! Folks, this was a man of God, a follower of Jesus and he was so angry and protective that he lost it! When this incident took place Jesus said to Peter, “You do not know what spirit you are of…” and proceeded to heal the mans ear.
As human beings the first thing we want to do is retaliate! Some of us are ready to rip others up one side and down the other, especially when they’re cruel, unkind and sometimes just downright ignorant. You can probably tell by my blog that I am dealing with an issue myself right now. No it’s not my family, in fact it doesn’t matter who or what it is, what matters is HOW do we do it? “How do we do what?” How do we LOVE our enemies or those that have wronged us or offended us? Allow me to tell you how I do it: Just today, I asked the Lord for help. I asked Him to help me love the way He loves. Jesus himself said it’s possible, “Love one another as I have loved you.” One particular scripture that the Lord has been speaking to me throughout the day is “Love your enemies…” as I looked it up in the Bible, I found the words of Jesus saying, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say LOVE YOUR ENEMIES! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way (when you do this) you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…” John 5:43-45 nlt. Notice he provides a way out of common temptation to react. Jesus is saying that there is a better way to deal with our issues with others: He says for us to “pray” for them. This act immediately turns our attention from lashing back at them to “showing mercy.” Did you know the Bible says that when we “judge” others that we will be “judged” with the same judgement we are judging others? It’s true. In another passage Jesus says, “…when you stand praying forgive, for if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins…” Mark 11:25-26.
Friends, we are all faced with difficult and painful situations in life. And the sad thing is, many times they occur by the same people. I have good news! Jesus has a helpful answer for this as well, “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Mathew 18:21-22
I am a human being just like you. I have feelings like you. I get hurt just like you. Did you know that Jesus was presented with the same circumstances as you and me? The word of God says that He was tempted in every way that we are, “yet without sin!” Instead of retaliation, anger, unforgiveness and bitterness, Jesus chose to show mercy. He practiced what he preached! Remember the scripture I shared at the beginning when Jesus said to “pray” for those that persecute us? He lived what He taught. While he was hanging on the cross he prayed to the Father in heaven and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34
Even in the toughest and most painful times in my life I am always reminded of how much he loves me. How much he has forgiven me and how important it is for me to “forgive” those that have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me. I have found that this is the only way to relieve the pain and restore peace. But it’s a choice. I can choose to hang on to the hurt or I can love my enemies by praying for them and forgiving them. I choose the latter.