Can You Really Love Your Enemies?

how to love your enemies
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Do you have enemies?

If someone asked you that question, could you sit and list hundreds? Or would you struggle finding even one person to add to the list?

The word enemy in Webster’s is defined as “one that is antagonistic to another, especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent.” It also uses it in context that items can be your enemy (something harmful or deadly like alcohol, etc), also a military adversary or a hostile unit or brute force.

That word may not mean what you think it means.

I’m not in the military, even through I grew up in a military family. And the little people I know certainly could be called a brute force or hostile unit some days!

But I don’t think that’s what Webster’s was talking about!

As far as items, the only one that comes to mind is sugar. Sugar and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it, but boy it hates me. Relate at all? 

Lots of people and things can antagonize us.

I bet your list would grow now that you know what a “technical” enemy is! You prolly have a lot of people and things that make your life hard.

One person tops my list. They make it very difficult for me to love them. In fact, they seem to find a lot of joy in bringing me pain.

This person often speaks words of bitterness and anger around me, they find joy mocking my faith. They have been known to lie, steal and cheat.

And for the record, they aren’t sorry about it. In fact, they’ll give you a nice long list of reasons why they needed to do those things instead of offering a humble apology.

You prolly have some people that top your enemy list too.

I’m sorry there are people in your life who find joy in bringing you down. Keep on praying with confidence that they some day become someone who chooses to lift you up. It’s so easy to get stuck in a prayer funk.

But should we honestly expect anything less from people who live blinded by pride and selfishness?

When someone chooses to make themselves God, there isn’t any room left in their heart for the King.

We have more enemies than we realize in this life. Enemies come in all shapes and sizes. They weave in and out of our lives.

They can be a spouse, family member, neighbor, church people, coworkers, the random driver on the highway or the lady in line at the grocery store.

Even the sweaty grunter next to me at the gym could make my list!

An enemy causes destruction in your life. Just how much is often up to you.

Let’s not forget about the things that cause destruction in our life. Items like alcohol, pornography, sugar, vanity, celebrity culture and politics come to mind.

It feels like our enemies are EVERYWHERE when we look at Webster’s idea of an enemy!

God has a lot to say about how we should treat others.

Jesus calls us to love. Not a few others, or some others, but ALL. THE. OTHERS. Even the enemies.

For this is the message you heard from the very beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)

Loving others, even our enemies, means showing kindness, grace and respect to the very humans that threaten to tear us down. And implementing very healthy boundaries.

But that is a topic for another day.

The Salt & Light featured blogger is…

This week I read a post from Christine over at “Take The Leap” that talks about how we can pray for our enemies. It’s a heartfelt reflection of her coming to terms that an abusive ex from her past is an enemy and the power she found to overcome his “hold” on her heart.

>>Click here to read more about how to pray for our enemies<<

Friends, I am a new co-host of the weekly Salt & Light Linkup for Christian bloggers. Come join us for some prayer, encouragement and a weekly linkup in our Facebook group. One blogger is highlighted in social media and on our blogs each week!

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24 thoughts on “Can You Really Love Your Enemies?”

  1. Rebecca Jones

    I guess I was naive, I never expected for Christians to be enemies, we supposed to not compete with each other but love each other, in Christ.

    1. I have often felt naive in that category too, but just looking at the news and all the infighting within our Christian communities tells us otherwise. So sad!

  2. I’m definitely going to head over and read the rest! We definitely have an enemy who wants to destroy us; and unfortunately, he often uses our nearest and dearest to try to do so. But you are so right, we are called to love even in those tough times.

    Love the name of your blog!

  3. Whooo…. so much good stuff to ponder here! Our enemies DO come in all shapes and sizes, but we get to choose how we respond to their antagonizing. And what we choose determines their place in our lives. Thanks for this insightful post! Blessings!

  4. I think sometimes as Christians, it can be difficult to admit we have enemies! But God can give us the strength to forgive them and pray for them. Thank you for this post!

  5. Great post! Loving our enemies is such a hard thing – it takes a whole lotta Jesus to effectively do it…but once we get to that place – look out – it’s amazing to look at that person (or people) that have done you wrong and think to ourselves, “I know what you’ve (they’ve) done, and I genuinely love you in spite of it all.” Thanks for sharing this – LOVE.

  6. Nicki – This is such a practical, wise post. Thanks for sharing all of this. And I’m going to check out the new Salt & Light community. Thanks for linking up at #PorchStories.

  7. Hey Nicki, Yes, if we reflect on that definition of enemies, our list could certainly prove long and daunting. Because I have family who antagonize me often and they are repeat offenders. But I like how you flipped our humanness on its head and showed us God’s viewpoint.

    “Jesus calls us to love. Not a few others, or some others, but ALL. THE. OTHERS. Even the enemies.”

    It’s what we are called to…a higher love than the world. Blessings!

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