Do you see that billboard sign above you? Do you see what it says? Sounds like a pretty simple command. Right? Who do you consider your neighbors though? The ones that live closest to you? The ones that live next door to you, or across the street from you? In the sense of the neighbors that live around us, we generally get along with them. So how hard should it be to love our neighbors? Seems pretty simple. Right? Well, what if the meaning of neighbors was far greater than you ever imagined? What if the term neighbor, in which God speaks of is not just the person next door, or just the person across the street? What if your neighbors were the whole world? You laugh, but it’s true. We are all neighbors in this world, and that is who God is commanding us to love. Doesn’t seem so simple anymore, does it? How can we love the whole world? Even more, and you might want to brace yourself for this one. We are to love our enemies. Those people who hurt us, those that purposely set out to destroy us, the ones that stop at nothing to beat you down, and have. Now, you have a command on your hands that seems impossible. How can you love someone who wants nothing more than to tear you to shreds? It’s just not possible. No, for us it is not possible, but Jesus told us in Matthew 19;26 (NIV) Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” God did not give us a command we could not keep. He gave us a command knowing we could keep it through him.
We are told over and over in the gospels to love our enemies, and to forgive our enemies. Why is it so important to God that we should love, or even forgive our enemies? Why does God want us to love people who hurt us? Those questions can be summed up by asking yourself these questions: Have you ever caused pain, either intentional, or unintentional? Have you ever been somebody’s enemy, and if so, has God not forgiven you? Of course he has forgiven you, even when you did not ask for forgiveness. God has loved you, and he has forgiven you, even when you have walked against him. Is that not the same that your enemies do to you? Do they not walk against you? Forgive them, the way God has forgiven you. Love them the way God has loved you.
Are we not all God’s children? The good and the bad. There is just as much hope in an evil person as there is in a good person. God loved you when you were unloveable, and he forgave you when you were unforgivable. So it is only fitting that we love the unloveable, and we forgive the unforgivable. Loving, and forgiving does not mean that we have to become best friends. It simply means you are making the choice to get rid of the contemptment you carry in your heart, and you have chosen to look at your enemies through the eyes of God, your father, rather than your own.
What if we forgive our enemies and they continue to hurt us? Well then, have you truly forgiven them? Sometimes we say we forgive, but we really don’t. Have you prayed that God will help you forgive them? Are you still holding resentment in your heart? Are you trying to forgive, but the contentment in your heart wont allow you to. Pray, pray that God will take that contemptment away so you can forgive. It may take time, but at least you and God are working together with it, therefore, it will happen! You know you have given true forgiveness when you can barely remember the wrong doing that you are forgiving. So when your enemies continue to hurt you after you have forgiven them, you are now able to pray for them. They have been forgiven, and because of that forgiveness, you now have a love for them. The pains they cause can no longer settle in your heart, because your heart has forgiven them, and they become effortless. You can now pray for your enemies with a loving and forgiving heart, and because you have forgiven, God now forgives the contemptment you held in your heart.
‘Like how God just slides that in there. You had no idea you were in the wrong, you had no idea, you needed forgiveness too, did you. Well, you did. You have been holding your enemy prisoner in your heart, not only was it tearing you apart, it was also separating you, and your enemy from God.
We have one major enemy we should never try to love nor forgive, and that is Satan. When you consider your enemies attacking you, realize, it is actually Satan working through them to break you down, to cause you to feel iniquity, and contemptment. It is not your enemy he wants, it is you he wants, and if you break, and give in and let contemptment take over your heart, then Satan has won. Your enemy is just a ploy, just a tool used to bring you to the true enemy. Love and forgiveness overcomes the true enemy. If you keep loving and forgiving his ploys he will soon run out of tools.
We have looked at many reasons to love your enemies, but I want to include one last reason. Your enemies may or may not be believers of God. If they are, possibly they have lost sight of God, and they need help being shown the way back. The only way to help bring them back is through love. If your enemy is an unbeleiver, it is direly more important to love them. What better way to show them God’s love than to love them with God’s love. You may be the only love and forgiveness your enemy is ever shown. Never pass up the opportunity to love someone, especially your enemies. I leave you with a passage of verses from:
Matthew 5;43-48 (NIV)
43: You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44: But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45: that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46: If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47: and if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.