Life’s Greatest Challenge: How To Love Your Enemies

Your highest calling as a Christian is to love everyone, regardless of who they are or how much they have hurt you. The call to love stretches far beyond your personal acquaintances to the harsh corner of those who have consistently been a thorn in your life. But how possible is it for you to love your enemies despite the stress and pain they’ve caused you? 

How can God insist that you love your mean neighbor, who delights in making your life miserable, or the coworker who gossips about you? Loving such people can be hard, but the instruction to do so comes straight from the mouth of God. 

Not only are you supposed to obey God, but you are also supposed to do it gladly and with a cheerful heart. 

Loving and praying for people who abuse us and reject our most cherished beliefs is a monumental challenge. In the book of Matthew, Jesus teaches about loving our enemies:

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” 

Matthew 5:43-45

What, then, should you do to love your enemies?

Pray for Your Healing from Brokenness and Bitterness

The first step toward loving our enemies is finding healing for the wounds they’ve caused. Prayer is the surest place to start. Take your pain, bitterness, and tears to God and ask Him to take over the healing process in your heart. Learning how to love your enemies starts with recognizing the brokenness and pain inside you and seeking God’s divine intervention through prayer. 

Forgive Them

Forgiving your enemies wholeheartedly and releasing them from your heart is one of the best things you can do since it directly benefits you. When you forgive those who have persecuted you, not only do you free yourself from pain and bitterness, but you also entrust them to God, Who understands best what to do. 

It’s tough to feel forgiving when you’re angry and hurt, so choose to forgive and ask God to change your heart.

Pray for Them

Seek God’s intervention and pray to Him to bless them. Pray for those who have offended you, hurt you, mistreated you, and even damaged your reputation. Doing this doesn’t mean you’re denying that they hurt you. It means you’re asking God to heal you and to help your offender get right with God. 

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Be Empathetic—Your Enemies are Victims, Too

It may honestly be very hard to see that your offenders are also victims, but it’s the truth. In the book of Romans, Paul says: 

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:23 

As this scripture confirms, it is quite unlikely that anyone goes through life without hurting another person. Your real enemy is the devil, who keeps tempting us to go astray. When you look at your human enemies from this angle, you’ll be able to pray for their deliverance from sin and for the real enemy, the devil, to be rendered powerless in Jesus’s name.

Speak Well of Them

Slander and gossip should never be part of you. When tempted to speak ill of your enemies, choose instead to keep silent and pray to God for them in your heart and mind. Even if you can’t bring yourself to speak well of them, choose not to damage their reputation. Remember that God is your vindicator. At the same time, He is the Judge who will hold you accountable for every careless word you say. 

Do Good to Your Persecutors

“Love covers a multitude of sins,” says the Bible in 1 Peter 4:8. Take a minute to reflect on the kindness of God that leads Christians to repentance. If God can be so good to us sinners, can’t we do good to our enemies, even if only to follow God? God is love, and His kindness—displayed through you—can change the hearts of your enemies. 

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