Who is My Enemy?
by Judy Webb
“You have heard that it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:43-44)
Loving our enemies means seeing them as human beings. To love your enemy means to understand them and behave toward them as you would like them to do to you. You don’t have to love them like your family, children, or best friend.
Christian love must go beyond what naturally takes place. Turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, reaching out with compassion and care are ways we can show love. We don’t have to invite them to our dinner table, but maybe that is just what Jesus wants from us.
Who is my enemy? It is simply someone I don’t like, or someone who says mean things to and about me. It is someone who wants to harm me or those I love. Is my enemy a foe or adversary? I believe someone can disagree with me and want nothing to do with me, without being my enemy. Enemy is a strong word and shows an individual who wants to do me harm, perhaps even abuse or mistreat me.
When you reflect on Jesus’ life and character, he showed how much he loved those who were against him. Remember when he was on the cross, he said:.. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
As we identify just who our enemy is, do we discover our dislike is based on our political differences? If so, we need to examine our hearts. We don’t have to agree in order to love each other. Do our religious beliefs fuel the flame of discord? Pray about it. Pray not only for the person we view as the enemy, but pray that our hearts and minds are in line up with the Gospel of Jesus.
Loving our enemies, it will take a lot of thought and even more of the Holy Spirit. Our love may not change the way our enemies treat us, but we will bring honor and glory to God and a personal sense of peace. That’s what we want to do every day.
Jesus, show us how to love as You loved. An enemy is merely someone who doesn't understand us, or who we don't understand. Come, Holy Spirit and help us all to see the good and the potential in all we struggle to have a relationship with.