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Loving Your Enemies

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By Glenn Ward

          Last week the article was about loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. This week we are going to explore the meaning of loving our enemies. Jesus told His disciples that they heard it said to love your neighbor and hate your enemies. He taught them to love their enemies and return good for evil (Matthew 5:43-45). God did not command the Jews to hate their enemies. They were to teach others about the Law of Moses and persuade them to become proselytes. God would punish those who did evil things to the Jews. Today He says that vengeance belongs to Him, He will repay those that do us harm (Romans 12:19). There was not a law for the Jews to hate their enemies; it was a tradition of man. The nature of man is to repay evil for evil. We can see the attitude of those around us who are willing to forgive but want to get even with those who do them harm. We find it difficult at times to love our neighbor let alone an enemy.

          Who is our enemy? There are not many today that have suffered unto death for Jesus Christ. The scriptures say that friends of the world are the enemies of God (James 4:4). The enemies of God are, also, the enemies of Christians. Our enemies could be members of our physical family. They can be our neighbors or citizens of foreign countries. Our enemies can be anyone that opposes Jesus Christ and those that try to do us wrong. We may not suffer physical but may suffer verbal assaults or financial losses. We might even suffer the loss of a family member. Suppose somebody killed a member of your family could you return good for that evil. God gave the life of His Son, Jesus Christ, that we might live. Jesus dying on the cross asked His Father to forgive those who ridiculed, beat, and crucified Him on the cross (Luke 23:24). His father offered everybody salvation if they would obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those that obeyed the gospel were saved and their sins forgiven (Acts 2:14-47). The offer of salvation remains until Jesus returns again. Jesus, in that day, will take vengeance upon those who knew not God or did not obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:1-12). If it is the nature of man to do evil for evil, how can we learn to return good for evil? One must change, or program his conscience, to be in agreement with the gospel. He or she must read and study the Bible. We, at first, may or may not be able to quote book, chapter, and verse but have a general knowledge of what is right or wrong. As we learn we are filling our minds with knowledge from the Bible. As we learn the laws of God we need learn to control our bodies to react in a godly way to situations.

          What does it mean to love our enemies? This love does not mean that we desire to socialize with them. This love desires us to do what is best for others. We will not try to get even or take vengeance on those that are against us. We return good for the evil that is done to us. We can pray for them that they might accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved. Being able to forgive is very important not only to the one who is forgiven but, also, to the one that is forgiving. I would say it is more important to the one that is forgiving. If we are unwilling to forgive God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). Those that we forgive may not even want to be forgiven. Jesus asked His Father to forgive those who were against Him and the majority of the people did not want the forgiveness. The apostles even had some trouble with how many times forgive a person. Peter asked if we forgive a person up to seven times. Jesus said we must give up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). The number of times we must forgive is unlimited.


1 comment

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  1. I am a novice myself. I write articles for the church and my grandsons set up the site and showed me how to update the site. I really do not have any recommendations.
    Glenn

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