“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28, MSG)

How can we possibly love those who enjoy making us miserable when we, without exception, fall short of loving God who is perfectly lovable?

Or do we even want to?

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My husband and I had the opportunity to witness individual adoption proceedings in which two children were not only given a new last name, but new names altogether. The judge ordered new birth certificates bearing the names given the children by their adoptive parents. These official actions reminded me of the beautiful mystery of 2 Corinthians 5:17:

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

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Being “in Christ” transfers His followers from their old roots (the sin family of Adam through which we were all born) into God’s kingdom as heirs of Christ—adopted with legal standing and declared fully righteous (see I Peter 1:3-5; Romans 8:15; Titus 3:7; I Corinthians 1:30).

The ability to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us comes from the wealth of spiritual resources we have as children of God and heirs of the heavenly kingdom through Christ.

The writer of 2 Corinthians continued:

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

My friend, we don’t view our enemies as objects of love because it’s possible in and of ourselves—it isn’t. What we do is commit to the call of representing the glorious kingdom into which we’ve been transplanted through Jesus Christ.

When you and I struggle to love the unlovable, it means we’re in need of a reality check. God views those who are in opposition to us (and ultimately Himself) with a longing that they be reconciled to Him. We are to be making appeal to them (as able) and/or on behalf of them (through humility and prayer) to give themselves over to God’s gracious invitation to either: (1) become His free and forgiven children; or (2) stop living in disobedience to His Word if they are His adopted children.

We may not know which category the person making us miserable is in, but the God we are praying to him or her about does.

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Jesus takes the most complicated of human scenarios and effortlessly reduces them to the bottom line:

Do you have enemies?  Love them.

Are there people who hate you? Do good to them.

Is anyone cursing you? Respond with blessing.

Are you mistreated? Pray for the oppressors.

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Below are some verses to help us during those “love your enemies” battles when our emotions need to be tempered by truth:

Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

John 3:16-17For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Mark 11:25: Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.

I Corinthians 3:16Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

I Peter 5:6-7Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:6-7Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 41:13For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

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Do you (like me) ever have troublesome thoughts about following Christ down this path of loving your enemies?

Perhaps you’re wondering whether answering’s God’s call to seek the ultimate good of those who seek our harm means to be okay their wrongdoing, or that we’re to be a doormat for them to walk all over.

This is not what it means.

ETL’s blog ForgivingWith Wisdom is right on point, here. It reminds us that God will deal with sin justly and that setting sensible and protective boundaries around ourselves is prudent. These and other principles within the blog are key in helping us to forgive and love our enemies wisely.

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Jesus is the authority and unparalleled example of what it means to love our enemies. All of Scripture, and clearly Romans 5:8-10, testifies that God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were sinners (working in opposition to His holiness), Christ died for us.

Jesus not only instructed us to love our enemies, but set His face towards the cross where He willingly poured out His love and opened salvation’s door for all of humanity.

You and I have an avenue for reconciliation with God because He loved His enemies and gave His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. We can know the transformative power and joy of having the Holy Spirit move into our hearts. And we are able, through that power, to love our enemies wisely, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us.

Although loving our enemies isn’t easy, it goes hand in hand with the assignment God has given us to be His ambassadors of reconciliation. And He gives us, His imperfect and ordinary followers, the power, freedom, and ultimate joy of aligning our hearts with His in this endeavor.

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Did you know you are being prayed for? You are! And God knows all about everything you face, internally and externally. He loves you with an everlasting love and wants to bring you into deepest intimacy and trust in Him. He is faithful and you can talk with Him anywhere, anytime, about anything.

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

6 Comments

  • Beryl says:

    Thank you for this “bottom line” reminder…love them, do good to them, respond with blessing, pray for the oppressors. I fall short of that often and at times with certain people, give up. Lord, thank you for not giving up on me and help me as I commit anew to this bottom line.

    • June says:

      I pretty much expected this to be a “no comment” blog, lol. Thank you for your open heart and gratitude to the God who doesn’t give up on us!

  • Brad says:

    This is a steep hill to climb and impossible to do without the Holy Spirits strengthening

  • anne says:

    To say this is my “favorite blog” to date may sound a bit odd… But how then shall I label the blog that has been the most confrontive and beneficial not only to me but I expect to many others given the present environment of the world we as Christ followers are called to live in until He calls us home? I took a photo of 1 paragraph for my phone to have as a reminder. It reads:
    “Do you have enemies? Love them.
    Are there people who hate you? Do good to them.
    Is anyone cursing you? Respond with a blessing.
    Are you mistreated? Pray for the oppressors.”
    Clear and straight to the point. Simple? Not so much. Only by His grace and the power of His Spirit.
    Thanks for “getting to the heart” of the issues at hand.
    Blessings!

    • June says:

      Thank you, Anne. Even though I love the way Christ Jesus takes the most complicated of human scenarios and effortlessly reduces them to the bottom line, He challenges my thinking and heart on a regular basis (as He did on this subject). I’m glad He met you in this blog, too!

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