Loving Your Enemies
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once the hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. (James Baldwin)
The only power greater than hate is love. Jesus taught His followers (Matthew 5:44), “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.” He demonstrated His teaching by praying for those who nailed Him on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
The secret for managing hurt; transform it into the power of prayer. Jesus told His disciples,“Watch and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation.” “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” (Apostle Paul). Take positive action against pain. It is impossible for us to love our enemies without supernatural intervention. Our natural tendency is to return to others what they give to us. “If you hate a person, you hate something in them that is a part of yourself. What isn’t a part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us” (Hermann Hesse). Bitterness and hatred is all about self. The thought of loving an enemy can be outlandish if we think about it in the natural, for it requires a double portion of God’s grace just to love our friends and family. But God wants more from us; He expects us to reach outside of ourselves and allow Him to strengthen us.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) Prayer is an effective tool against the passions of our flesh that seek retribution. When we love those that hate us then we know that the Lord is moving in our lives. “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (Peter). When we choose to love our enemies, the anointing of the Holy Spirit empowers us with supernatural ability. That is why Stephen could pray as an angry mob stoned him to death, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” “The yoke of bondage will be destroyed because of God’s anointing …” (Isaiah 10:27). You can destroy the oppression of pain through the power of prayer that works mightily in your life.