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Love for Enemies

[Matthew 5:43-45] “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and 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.
Does loving your enemies seem like an option (for a Christian)? Technically yes, but loving your enemies proves you have been adopted by your heavenly Father.
How hard is loving your enemy?
They have no respect for you; no concern; no appreciation; no gratitude. They are weak and helpless and deserve your wrath – more so, God’s wrath. In spite of all that, you can still love your enemy. Why? Because that’s what Jesus did with your ill-deserving self. He gave you a new life. And that’s a huge reason why we love our enemies—is because we want them to get a new life from Jesus.
If that person gets a new heart, guess what? You can now be reconciled! You will see your worst adversary in heaven, if he repents and believes in Jesus. We should never nurse hatred toward our adversaries.
Are you praying for those who persecute you?
If so, what do you pray?
If you’re praying for them, your heart will more than likely become tenderer towards them.

[Romans 12:17-21] Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. [18] If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. [19] Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” [20] To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” [21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
How many enemies of yours are actively persecuting you?
We have grown accustomed to our human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We assume that our rights should be protected by law and by force if necessary. Practicing faith is a protected right in our country. But to make clear, for 300 years there was no legal legitimacy or protection for Christianity. To convert from one of the pagan religions and say Jesus is Lord was to risk your life. Peter writes, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). In other words, it was not strange to be persecuted. What is strange historically is that we are not. Other countries to be sure have heavy persecution. We have brothers and sisters being shot, imprisoned, beaten, abducted, and denied public gathering or even private gathering.

For me, this is a sobering thought on what really matters and how my focus should always be on Christ.
Do you give thought to what is honorable? What does this look like?
Have any of you fed your enemy? Would you?
Do any of have a subtle hatred as you’re pleased or happy that God will get them?

[Proverbs 24:17-18] Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, 18 or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.
[Proverbs 17:5] Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

In regards to justice, though look at:
[Proverbs 21:15] When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Pressing charges on someone who rapes your daughter or who breaks in to your home and assaults your wife is not evil. Let our court system be a means for sanctification. We should be saddened when our enemy falls because their heart is bent towards evil and they are an enemy to God. Any time any one sins is an instance of stumbling. Some stumble into deeper consequences: rape, pedophilia, porn, wicca, murder, etc. As Christians we should also seek justice. To let someone go who tried to abduct your child would be unloving to the person who’d be the next victim. Pushing for justice still allows room for forgiveness and your heart to be broken since their current life trajectory is hell. Pray they repent.

“Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. We should be happy to leave this with him. This, I commend to you, is a wonderful way to live. This is part of our freedom. And in this freedom there are great open spaces for love.

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