“I don’t want to love my enemies. I want 5 minutes in a boxing ring with them!”
That’s the initial thought that comes to my mind every time I read Luke 6:
“But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”- Jesus
Umm.. Excuse me? What Jesus is saying goes against every fiber of my being, and it only gets…worse
“If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do for others as you would like them to do for you… Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them! And don’t be concerned that they might not repay”- Jesus
What?! The Golden Rule is associated with loving my enemies!? Why? Why should I be kind to my enemy? Why should I pray for the person who has hurt me? Who is rude to me. Who I. Just.Don’t.Like.
More than not, I find myself more gracious to people who don’t know Jesus. I can have more compassion for them, but I’m not talking about enemies who don’t know Jesus. I’m talking about my brothers and sisters who have offended me, who have hurt me, who have wronged me. My enemies that know Jesus. The ones who have a personal relationship with Him, too.
I’ve been pondering and reflecting on these verses for the past couple weeks. I have so many “whys”. It’s been challenging. I’ve been asking God to help me follow what He says about loving my enemies. Recently, I feel like there’s been a revelation.
There’s a prison that we keep ourselves in when we have enemies. It’s not one that locks us in one place, it’s like a book bag prison. We carry it around with us wherever we go. We’re all good… till we see the person…till we hear their name…especially when we hear that they are doing well. At those very moments the gates of bitterness, anger, frustration, comparison, selfishness, anxiety, immaturity, and attitude start to plummet around us and we become confined. We’re no longer free. This prison prohibits us from doing certain things we want to do, and being who we really are, right in the middle of the present situation.
To be honest, though it’s a prison, it feels safe. I can control the situation. I can ignore the person. I can choose to erase their name out of my head. I can choose not to follow them on social media. It seems much scarier to trust God and pray for them. What if they prosper more? What if they take something even more precious from me? What if they continue to treat me unfairly?
Recently, the Holy Spirit helped me pray this prayer for my enemies “Bless them, Lord. Thank you that they are doing great work for your Kingdom. I pray for their best. Thank you for my brother and sister”. Naturally ,it felt extremely weird, but spiritually I started to feel lighter. As I prayed each sentence, the prison gates started to lift, one by one. It felt…liberating.
“Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked, You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”- Jesus
When we choose to love our enemies, to pray for them, we are taking the right to receive justice for the wrong done to us out of our own hands. We are exchanging a false sense of control for God’s peace. Exchanging anger and bitterness for thankfulness and forgiveness. Exchanging anxiety about the future for faith in God’s sovereignty. When we pray for someone it sets us free from hate. I don’t fully understand the “whys”…but it just does. I encourage you to try it, and feel for yourself the release that comes.
We are created to be most free when we are aligned with God’s Word. There is freedom in obedience, because deep inside our spirit’s are craving Truth. When we choose actions contrary to Truth, prison gates start to descend around us. When we love our enemies then we are acting most like our true selves… children of a compassionate, forgiving, and loving Father.
“Do for others as you would like them to do for you”
The golden rule has gotten a lot more real since reading Luke 6. I still don’t have this whole “love our enemies” thing down pact. I don’t think I ever will, but I am more conscious of asking the Holy Spirit to teach me and help me. Without Him, there’s no way that we can do this, but with Him…all things are possible.
Here’s to 31 being the first year of having a back pack that carries books.