“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” Luke 6:27
Have you ever been kind to someone who is unkind to you? It’s certainly not easy, but as Christians, that’s exactly what we are called to do.
It can be a humbling experience to show kindness to someone you know who, at best, is indifferent towards you. It’s even harder if someone is dismissive, condescending or acts maliciously towards you.
When we are in situations where we must love our enemies, it’s a form of surrender. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we humble ourselves and surrender our will and our ways to the Lord.
So, how do we love our enemies?
Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Some translations replace the word willingly with heartily in that verse. In other words, in all that we do, we should work diligently, as though we are doing it for the Lord and not for man.
We cannot rely on our own strength or ability when we show kindness to our enemies. We must pray and ask the Lord to equip us to do what He requires us to do. When we act in love towards our enemies, we must remember that we are acting in service to the Lord, not that person.
When we love our enemies or show kindness to difficult people, we honor God, and it allows Him to act on our behalf. We all know vengeance belongs to the Lord and He is a God of justice. (Psalm 94:1)
Of course, God’s command to love our enemies does not mean we should not establish and maintain healthy boundaries in our relationships. With certainty, however, there will be periods in our lives when we will encounter difficult people and will have to depend on the Lord to give us wisdom and strength to overcome this type of adversity.
Sometimes, I think we are put in a position where we have to face difficult people so that God can work on something in our own heart. As James 1 says, when our faith is tested, it is an opportunity for our endurance to grow, and loving our enemies will definitely try our faith!
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4