We have been having some enormously fantastic discussions on my Facebook page and I decided to share this one with you. To God be the glory for this, yet I want to also thank all our Siblings in Christ who participated.
Sisterlisa : Why do you think Jesus wants us to love our enemies? Feel free to share scripture and testimonies.
Valerie: Aren't we directed to love the sinner, but not the sin? So, we pray for them.
Sisterlisa: Yes, we are to pray for them. There's a lot to this admonishment from our Lord. I hope this brings out good feedback from our siblings in Christ.
Valerie : It relates well with "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."
Kristine: Sounds like Valerie summed it up- I agree with her.
David : I believe it is so we can become more like Christ. I believe the more we mature as believers, the more we experience the nature of God. This act of loving your enemies is at the core of His nature. We love because He loved us... while we were enemies.
Janice: It is impossible to love enemies. They are out to hurt us..They can only be loved by and through Him in us. As I recall, I was an enemy to God and by His grace was forgiven and brought into relationship with Him.How can I not forgive others based on that revelation.. And I completely depend on Him to work through me to love them. He shows me how as I depend on Him. If I live for an audience of one, seeking to please Him only, surrendered to His Spirit, He can than fill me with His love, cause I will be walking in the Spirit and Love is fruit of the Spirit. Having enemies keeps us closer and dependant upon Him. Relational; which is what He desies.
Valerie : With God, nothing is impossible. We are weak, but he is our strength.
Joey: If we are to be ambassadors of Jesus who commands us to love everyone 1peter1:22 it includes our enemies. it as also good to remember we battle not with flesh and blood, but the evil and principalities of such. hate festers hate, God did not give us a spirit of hate, the enemy thrives on hate, and has no understanding of love. Love is our most valuable asset and weapon.
David: Janice, that was brilliant!
Don: Because it is the very essence of God's love for us. Romans 5:8 tells us that God displayed love for us through the death of Jesus Christ while were still sinners. As sinners our carnal minds were hostile towards God (Romans 8:7). Though ignorantly, we were God's enemy in our lost condition. Yet, because of his love her pursued us. Loving our enemies is really a work of God in our lives and a reflection of his love in us. He loves through us. (Phillipians 2: 13, 14).
Sisterlisa: Keep it coming dear siblings..Joey you said something that caught my attention but it's best for another thread. I'm going to email you about it first and after this discussion grows and we learn more on this topic of enemies, then I will post the next one.
Jared(13 yrs old): Mathew 5, verse 44-45: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the just.
God wants us to be like him, and He loves everyone so if we're in Christ then we will be loving everyone too, and if we're loving our enemies then we're setting a good example, and being a light to them. d:)
Sisterlisa: Very good, Jared. I'm so glad you are participating in this discussion. Jump in any time ok?
Kristine: Amen Janice!! Holy Spirit is moving!!
Sisterlisa: Valerie,.."They know not what they do"... so true. So many times they have no idea what they are doing to one another, let alone what they do to God. Knowing this, we could really dig deep to find compassion for their 'ignorance' (I say "ignorance" respectfully, not rudely)
Sisterlisa: David..this is so true, "I believe the more we mature as believers, the more we experience the nature of God. This act of loving your enemies is at the core of His nature." Amen!
Sisterlisa: So true, Janice...it is impossible for us as humans to love. But Christ in us can. So we die daily so Christ can love them through us. I can't love my enemies. "Break me Lord so you can love them through me. In and of myself *I* don't want to love them."
Sisterlisa: Joey!!! Incredible, YES! we are ambassadors for Christ to our enemies!
Sisterlisa: Valerie, in this area I am truly weak, it must be his strength. I am feeling a healing going on in me. Thank you all. Keep it coming please. :)
Sisterlisa: Don, I can barely see through the tears in my eyes as I read this..
"Though ignorantly, we were God's enemy in our lost condition. Yet, because of his love her pursued us. Loving our enemies is really a work of God in our lives and a reflection of his love in us. He loves through us."
He pursued us. Can we pursue our enemies in love? With love? His love? When do we know to stay away and when to pursue with love? A puppy who has been abused still cowers at any bit of closeness of a human. It's instincts tell the puppy to use caution. An abused puppy doesn't trust again very easily. Any amount of love must be so genuine and overwhelming to he the puppy heal. ..
I have deep hurts from some 'enemies' At times I think...I'll love from a distance by just praying for them. My instinct tells me to keep distant right now. Could that change in the future? is it acceptable to remain distant?
Does loving our enemies mean we should put ourselves in harms way again and continue to take the 'beating'?
Sisterlisa: Jared, what deeper reason could our Lord have for asking us to pray and bless those which despitefully use us and persecute us?? I wonder if it's possible that we'll learn a lot on judgment day about how or if we loved our enemies.
Michelle: Okay, I don't have specific scripture addresses on this off the top of my head, but the first thought that came to mind was the verse that tells us that it's the LOVE of God that draws them (sinners) to Him. And second verse is the one how they (sinners) will know us (the saved) by our love. If we misrepresent God by hating the sinners, of course ... See Morethe sinners will be confused by the character of God. It's kind of like the Boy Scouts. How do we know a boy scout when he's out of uniform? We see him walk the proverbial old lady across the street. If you see a young boy refuse to help the old lady across the street, even though he's in his BS uniform, you'd think he's not acting like much of a boy scout. If we thought boy scouts in general were that uncaring & cold towards old ladies, we'd misunderstand the character of the original boy scout mission. Many a sinner has seen the misrepresentation of God by just one christian they knew it has set their conception of God on the negative side. My mom always said it takes about 10 positives to overcome just one negative. If that's true, it could take ten Christians rightly representing God's love towards a sinner to overcome the one who misrepresented God through hateful words or actions.
Sisterlisa: Michelle, that is absolutely beautiful!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. Wow!
Will: I am almost sure that our theology is in disagreement regarding universal salvation; however there is one point I think we both agree on ... our worst enemy is no less beloved of God than we are, and it is through His love that people are drawn to Him .. not through exclusion or judgemental condemnation.
Sisterlisa: Will, I would like to hear more about your perspective on salvation (email me please so we can keep this on topic)..I like what you said about not through exclusion or condemnation. Isn't it true they He allowed His Son to die for ALL mankind because of His love toward us while we are still sinners? So I believe tis true... they are no less beloved... See More by Him than we are. And perhaps that is just another reason we are to LOVE them. It doesn't mean we are condoning their sin or rejection of Christ though. I think there is a balance that we can only begin to understand a small fraction of through Christ. We really have no idea of the true depth of the love of Christ do we?
DeEllen: When we don't love our enemies, anger and fear grow in our hearts. Bitterness sneaks in. Soon we are overcome with distrust and sadness. The more our hearts fill with these feelings, the more we will outwardly share those feelings. We do not know the full stories of any of our enemies. We cannot change their actions, but we can change our own... See More. Oftentimes this comes through prayer and trust in God which brings us closer to Him. He knows our hearts and He knows theirs. He is the ultimate and most fair judge and has not left it up to us to make judgements. Therefore, we do not have that burden and must do all we can to keep peace and love in our own hearts which will outwardly shine through into how we treat others. We must forgive all, but I believe in doing so we become stronger spiritually and more Christlike. It is not impossible. And it is easier to do with God's help. How wonderful it is when the feelings of anger and hurt are taken from our hearts and love and forgiveness replace them. Another beautiful blessing from God.
Randy: In making the point that Jesus was in fact serious about loving our enemies I was informed by a "mature, educated" believer that the idea of loving one's enemies was hyperbole. The question was then put to me, "Just where in loving your enemies does it say not to kill them?" Sadly, nationalist and patriotic conservative Christians love war just as much and for the same reasons as nationalistic, conservative Muslims. I call them Talibengelicals.
Jocelyn: I think as we love our enemies we come to accept them as they are. I want to be accepted for who I am, so why should I not accept them for who they are. It makes us more Christlike as well. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to act as he does. When we harbour ill feelings it festers and our actions become less Christlike. Christ died for all of our sins, not just the ones we choose to forgive.
Sisterlisa: Randy I would like to explore the war concept in regards to Chrisianity very soon. Thank you bringing it up.
DeEllen: I don't see loving enemies as a hyperbole. It was repeated over and over in the New Testament. He taught that the first commandment was to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, and mind and the 2nd is like unto it. Love your neighbor as yourself. When asked who our neighbor is, he told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The ... See MoreSamaritans were lower than dirt to the Jews. They actually made a huge circle around the Samaritan's land to get to the other side to avoid them. And what about in the Old Testament when God sent Jonah to Ninevah to preach? Jonah did not want to go! But as the Lord's servant he was expected to love those people too. It is easy to love friends and people who are kind to you. It is taking the harder road to love those who are cruel and despitefully use you. Those who show that kind of love are true followers of Christ. Does that mean we do not protect our families from those who are evil? No. We are allowed to do this. But if we do it with hatred in our hearts we are hurting ourselves and all those around us instead of just protecting them.
Claudia: Matt 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
Matt 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matt 5:45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matt 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Matt 5:47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? It is Biblical to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I do think, however, that what is missing from this conversation is what that love "looks like". Sometimes love comes in rebuke--in sharing truth that is like salt in a wound. Of course doing so with gentleness and respect is of utmost importance. But my point is to say that loving our enemies is not always nor should be always "warm and fluffy".
Randy: Sisterlisa - I may be able to recommend several books - BTW, I believe w/o love (loving our enemies) Christians are just noisemakers (clanging gongs and cymbals)
Sisterlisa: Valid points ya'all. Claudia, so true..that has been a missing part. Thank you for bringing it up. What does 'love your enemies' LOOK like? Excellent question.
If we look at this command to love them as a point by point calculated command with a point by point approach to doing so.... We run the risk of showing ourselves to be fake. For surety, all of us could fake it just to say we've done it..obeyed his commands. But as said earlier, it is easy to love those who are kind to us. But does he want us to obey just to obey or because he hopes to see love in us?
We are told that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. The Wheat grows WITH the tares. The rain nourishes ALL on the earth. And when drought comes it also comes on the just and the unjust.
Sisterlisa: Yes, Randy like clanging cymbals. Just who are we anyway? Do we simply follow Jesus like a road map or are we really on a journey walking WITH him?
Randy: for a glimpse of what loving one's enemies looks like check out The Voice of the Martyrs @ www.persecution.com
- So we love our enemies because we are commanded to.
- So we avoid bitterness.
- So we are a light to the world(not that it's us but that we have "died" and He loves through us)
- It is the very nature of Christ in us.
- It shows us our great need to depend upon Him.
- Because they don't know what they are doing to us.
- We are His Ambassadors.
- Love is our most valuable asset and weapon.
- Genuine love brings maturity.
- Love draws people to God.
- Loving our enemies keeps us from behaving in an unChrist-like way.
and what does that love look like?
Sisterlisa: Randy, email me about the books. Yes we know of Voice of the Martyrs. Great ministry!
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Sisterlisa is a homeschooling mom of four children and married to an evangelist who travels to bring the gospel to those in need of our Savior. She is the owner of Growing in Grace Magazine and AGMinistries.