Love Your Enemies
Jesus tells us to love our enemies. Maybe you know the passage...
You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you. In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike." Matthew 5:43-44
I love the comparisons Jesus makes. Just like the sun shines on the whole world, and just like the rain falls on the whole world, Jesus came for the whole world...a world that included his enemies.
Yes, Jesus had enemies, and they hated him. They hated him because others loved him. They hated him because he spoke the truth they did not want to hear. They hated him so much that they ultimately had him killed.
Yet Jesus loved these people. How?
He forgave them, and he prayed for his father in heaven to do the same. When he hung on the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." Luke 23:34
These are the loving actions Jesus wants us to take for our enemies, too. And he wants us to do it because it makes God's love visible in the world. As Jesus also says,
"If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that." Matthew 5:46-47
In other words, Jesus wants us to show HIS kind of love to the world. Loving people who love us is pretty easy, and pretty much everyone does it. But loving our enemies, forgiving them and praying for them, is much harder. It is so hard, in fact, that we can't even do it on our own. Our sinful human nature makes it impossible. But Jesus can enable us to do it. He can give us loving hearts that forgive, no matter what.
Read Isaiah 11:1-9
Verses 1-5 of this passage describe Jesus. How can you tell? What do they say about Jesus?
Verses 6-9 describe what life will be like when Jesus comes again. What imagery does Isaiah use to show that enemies will become friends when Jesus returns? Why is it important for us to know that Jesus is the one who makes this possible?
In response to what you have read, draw an image of what loving an enemy looks like. If you like, you can add a Bible verse to your drawing.
Take time this week to pray for someone who has hurt you. Pray for that person and ask Jesus to help you forgive whatever was done or said. If you like, you can write the word FORGIVE somewhere to help you remember to keep praying.