Thursday, October 3, 2013

Loving Your Enemies

     We are told in Matthew 5:43-44 to love our enemies. It says, "You have heard it was said to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," But what does this mean? A lot of times, this can be mistaken for, "Put up with your enemies." or, "You can dislike them, but just don't hate them." Well, what does the Bible say? That is what I will be talking about in this article.

     In 1 Corinthians 13, we are given a definition of love. So I will be reading that definition, which starts in verse 4, and goes through the first part of verse 8. It says, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends." Now, I am going to re-read that, but in the contexts of loving our enemies.

     "Be patient and kind to your enemies. Do not envy them, or boast to them. Do not be arrogant or rude to your enemies. Do not insist on your own ways. To not be irritable or resentful toward your enemies. Do not rejoice in your enemies' wrongdoing, but rejoice in the truth. Bear all things coming from your enemy, believe all that they say, hope all things, and endure everything. Always love your enemies." Basically, if you combine the two, this is what the passage would probably say. 

     But do we really treat our enemies like this? I mean, this may be how we treat our friends and family, but as we read in Matthew, we should treat everyone like this. Not just the people we like. This can seem difficult, and sometimes even impossible. I'm sure everyone has struggled with this before. But we shouldn't just put up with our enemies, or ignore them. We should love them with the kind of love that we read about in 1 Corinthians 13. I think that often, the word "love" is misjudged to mean other things when used throughout the Bible in commandments. But as long as we keep in mind what love really is, it can be easier to fully understand the command given. So today, I want to encourage you to not put up with your enemies, but to love them, even though it seems almost impossible at times. :)