Luke 6: 27 – 31 ——- “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
What comes to your mind in response to the questions, “Who has hurt you? Who has offended you? Who has lied about you? Who has betrayed you?”
How quickly can you make a short list of people who have caused you pain? And who were these people who hurt you? Family members? Your wife? Your husband? Your parents? Your children? Or was it a person at work? Or a friend from church? How many friendships have been shattered because their cruel words or actions left you feeling betrayed?
But how does God want us to respond to people who hurt us? Whether that person is a family member or an enemy, how should we react?
And Jesus says, here is how I want you to respond to that enemy today- love them! “This does not make sense!” you say. Why should I love them? Look at all the damage this person caused in my life, and now you just want me to love that person?
In response to all your “whys” Jesus simply says, “Love your enemies.”
But how? How does Jesus want me to show love to my enemies? I simply do not have any love in my heart for that person. Are you saying that I should have “warm fuzzy feelings” in my heart for this person?
God knows our weaknesses, and He has promised to provide the power we need when we do not have the strength to do what He asks us to do. So the good news is that if you don’t know how to love this enemy, God will help you.
The first love trait relates well to enemies-“love is patient.” How can I express patience in relating to this enemy? Let’s look at it from the other end, when you show patience toward this person, you are expressing God’s love. So does this mean I let this person keep on abusing me and I respond by showing patience as they abuse me? Not at all!
Patience can be expressed toward our enemies by what we think and what we say. It is “normal” and easy to lash out with our words, or at least in our thoughts, toward the one who has hurt us. Love can be shown by not going down the path of revenge-even in our thoughts.
You cannot change your enemy but you can change your response to this person. That is what God is concerned about for you- what is your response?
God will give you the power to change if you are willing to change