Love your enemies.

Luke 6:27-36  “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” lend to “sinners”, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your  reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Let’s dive into this powerful scripture:

When Jesus says “love” in this particular scripture, he is talking about “agape” love, which means love out of concern for others and is speaking on unselfish love. Love that doesn’t serve yourself. This love is a choice and an act of the will.  It is universal love or love for strangers.  Extending yourself for the sake of others. Not to be mixed with brotherly “phileo”, which means love between friends. Thus, this is where boundaries come in. You do not have to trust your enemy or love them as you would a friend.

Loving your enemies is having their best interest at heart, and praying for them. They probably need help most in some situations, if you think about it. Praying for them, and find ways to help them. They have rights and deserve respect too. We need God just as much as they do, and we are no better. We need Gods forgiveness just as much as they do.

People that offend may need love the most. God calls us to love, for He is love. Jesus was sent to seek out the lost and the broken. He calls us to do the same without being taken advantage of or falling victim. God loves everyone, but hates evil. You can show God’s love by forgiving and not letting these offences effect you. Pray for them in their trials. You can love them but not like their behavior.

When you have hate in your heart this causes bitterness. God desires something better for us. You cannot live an abundant life that Jesus has set out for us in bitterness. God calls us to a peaceful life, not a vengeful one.

By not acting the same way as those who have wronged you, makes you overcome, and be the “bigger person”. You are overcoming their offence. Being good to your enemies does not mean letting them treat you wrong by no means.  It means you have a boundary where this behavior does not effect you in a vengeful way. “Vengeance is mine thus saith the Lord”. Because God is just. Romans 12:19 We are merely human. You are a conqueror when you do not act vengeful, but rather act out of love. When Jesus says “turn the other cheek”, He is not talking about being a victim of assault, He is speaking on not taking revenge. Let’s be honest, when you take revenge, and act the same way, you are adding fuel to the fire, and going in a vicious circle. There is a better life than this. This accomplishes nothing.

Why does Jesus say “lend to your enemies”! This is where action comes into play. Our actions show if we really mean it. We are supposed to give as though we are giving to God, and meet specific needs. People are more important than money.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you”. Luke 6:31. I love this powerful scripture. Do not treat people how you would not want to be treated. This is a great moral for me. This is otherwise know as the golden rule. We are treating people the way we would want to be treated and not the way we think they should be treated. This is grace. Jesus has shown us grace by dying on the cross for us, to reconcile us with God.

What does Jesus mean when he says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” Luke 6:32 You show strong character when you choose to have agape love. You show God’s character. You show strength. Agape love does not seek repayment. God will reward us one day. Agape love is God’s character, and we are to be like Him.

Be merciful. God desires us to be like Him. God desires you to forgive since He forgave us. Love others and do not condemn them. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 The people who put Jesus on the cross were ignorant of his accusations. God demonstrates his willingness to forgive sins, and his mercy.

Some other powerful scriptures.

The LORD is on my side; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6 (God will protect you). 

He has overcome the word.  “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”. 1 John 4:4

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

Aim higher. God is greater than this world.

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

― William Shakespeare

 

Boldly approach this new year….

and remember:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

God does not want you to live in fear. Boldly live, and do not live in fear for God said:

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”

Hebrews 13: 5-6. 

God is always there, he will never leave you. Do not be afraid of anything. Boldly live your life, and do not live in fear.

God loves you and doesn’t want you to live in fear.