or, How To Love Your Enemies
Proverbs 24:17-20 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the LORD will see it and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him. Do not fret because of evildoers Or be envious of the wicked; For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
The purpose of today’s post is to provide believers tools to show love to those who abuse you [enemies/haters]. Most, if not all, have experienced others being hateful, unkind, malicious and even evil for no apparent reason. Some of these reactions are the results of actions we committed [or omitted] with forethought; others were not. The perceptions of others are influenced not only by our behavior but by their attitudes and preconceived notions. The believer is required to show love to all, enemies as w ell as friends, believers and non-believers, haters or lovers. Yet it seems to be human nature to return evil for evil. If someone slaps me, my initial impulse is to return the slap. When someone is cruel my tendency is to respond in like manner or at the least to walk away. However, that is not the Christian way.
James 1:2-5 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
5 TIPS TO SHOW LOVE TO THOSE WHO ABUSE YOU
1. Be slow to respond. Do not respond in anger. Allow time for a reasoned response to interactions that cause you pain. Most quick [impulsive] responses are governed by emotions. Such responses are more likely influenced by the flesh than the Holy Spirit [who is in every believer]. Delaying your response does not mean you accept the behavior rather that you choose to determine an appropriate response.
2. Pray. Discuss the issue with God. Seek His guidance and direction. Wait for His direction. Be very specific in your prayer request and allow time for you to hear and recognize His response. If you don’t like God’s answer, pray and ask for clarification. Then choose to let God be in charge or take charge yourself. Who is most powerful? Hmmm!!!
3. Forgive. Forgive the hateful behavior and/or unkind words. Then bury the incident in the sea of forgetfulness. Do not continually relive it which renews your pain. Be as a surgeon and cut it out. Once completely removed there may be a brief period of residual pain, but that will soon disappear. However, if the incident is continually relived the pain is repeated time after time.
Isaiah 43:18 “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.
4. Act. Notice you forgive before you act. This facilitates your ability to be loving when your natural [human] instinct is to be hateful. After you have a clear understanding of your task [God’s instructions to you], complete it. Follow through with God’s instructions. Handle it in a loving manner. For example, greet the offender with a smile and friendly words rather than a frown and harsh words.
Luke 6:27-36 NIV 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
4. Pray for the individual. Pray for the individual. Ask God to touch that heart and spirit. Ask God to remove whatever is burdening the person’s spirit. Ask for insight on ways to be helpful.
5. Be Kind. Seek a way to show kindness to the offending individual. Say a good word; engage in kind acts; treat to coffee, or give a thoughtful card. Do whatever you think a loving Jesus would do. We, are, His earthly representatives.
Showing love to those who abuse you is possible through the love of Jesus. Invite Him into your life today.
Have a safe, happy and blessed week.
Healthy Life Church Ministry Team