Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and (a) hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his 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 own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
a. Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18
We must be in constant prayer about such challenges. The flesh rages against this challenge. Only being in constant prayer of thanks, forgiveness,mercy, and wisdom can we overcome the desire to hate. Hate does not come from the Father. Anger must not be confused with hate.
Father, may our hearts be filled with your mercy for others. Guide us and grant us wisdom to apply your mercy in our everyday coming and going. We give you thanks and praise in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Your Brother in Christ, Journeyman
. I remember years ago praying for someone I despised. At first saying the prayers for this someone was extremely difficult to do. But , I said them because I knew I needed to forgive so God would forgive me. I wish I could remember this time better. Its almost a blank, but I do remember that God helped me much. Those prayers started being heart felt. I truly wanted this person to whom I always wanted to burn in hell, to be saved from it. Even though I had absolutely no love for them. Or like either. I know that for me to want to pray like that was a miracle straight from God., It had to be. You said Anger must not be confused with hate. This kind of helps me. I look back sometimes and remember bits and pieces of how God changed me and then I think it was all waisted because sometimes something will cause a memory and I cringe and feel sick to my stomach. I think well maybe I didn't forgive because the hate is still there. Maybe it isn't hate but the confusing hate and anger as you mentioned.
Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn’t sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest. "His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks." "Up in the church tower," he said, nodding out the window, "is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what. After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there’s a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we’ve been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn’t be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They’re just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down."
Wonderful example my dear! Cool analogy about the bell ringing! I am so very grateful for your reply. Such a blessed gift you are. :-)
Thanks so much for sharing your heart and testimony with me here. You are a treasured gift dear Little Sister. :-) May the Lord bless you Ribbon.
This kind of love can only come from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit to the believer (Gal 5:22). It's not anything that a man can find within himself. It must come from God, Himself into the life of the believer.
The NKJV goes a little further on the things we're to do for our enemy in verse 44. It tells us to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you... Here it shows the act of this love involves doing good toward them. By this, we may win him over to Christ & the kingdom. I know this is not always possible but whenever the opportunity to do good towards them is there, we're to use that.
Janie, you're right. The strength as well as the desire to pray for this person was from God. We just can't do it within ourselves.
The way to loving an enemy is by understanding your enemy. By that I mean to understand the forces which motivate his actions. For example, a physically weak wrestler constantly argues, undermines, complains about, and disagrees with another more physically strong wrestler out of hate.
What that strong wrestler can do is understand the weak wrestler's pain, born out of his lack of acceptance of himself as he is. The strong wrestler should then exercise patience, and then find compassion for the weak wrestler's pain.