One of the commands that Jesus gave his people when he was on earth is that they must love their enemies. This is like the hardest thing to do here on earth. Imagine loving someone who wants bad to happen to you. That is almost impossible but Jesus is preaching love – the best thing to do as Christians to show that we are followers of Christ is to show love. There are different examples in the bible of people showing love even to their enemies. Examples of Loving your Enemies in the Bible;
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”Matthew 5:44 KJV
Before going to the examples, we need to know the reason why Jesus wants us to show love even to our enemies. So why should we show love to our enemies?
We are God’s children
Before created man, he said something;
Genesis 1:26 KJV “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and the cattle, and overall the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
We were made in God’s image. The attribute of God is dominion, power – we have been given these abilities but one more thing that God possesses that we must also have in us because we are in His image is love. The bible clearly stated that God is love and anyone who does not love does not know God and that person is not conforming to the image of God.
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”1 John 4:8 KJV
For us to show the world who God is, we as His children must display His nature to all men. By showing love, people will know that we are God’s children.
It is a command from the Lord that we should love our enemies. Any command that God gives us is for our benefit. Repaying evil for evil will not keep this world balanced. God wants love to spread and that is why we have been commanded to show love. We cannot claim to be followers of Christ and then not follow His word or not obey Him. If we want to show that we love Him then we must obey Him.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”John 14:15 KJV
Keeping the commandment of the Lord is what needs dedication and focus – some things sound like it is difficult to do but with focus, it will be easier to do them. that is why the bible says that there is just one person that we can focus on if we want to do all of these things and be successful in doing them and that person is Jesus.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”Hebrews 12:2 KJV
Love is a beautiful thing that can ever happen to a person but the question is, how genuine is this love that the person has for another person? It is very easy to say “I love you” but it is never easy to prove. We as Christians, by default, we are to show love to everybody not only by saying it but by putting it into action. To show love, genuine love is a commandment from the Lord.
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:31 KJV
Jesus realized that all the commandments given by God in the Old Testament will not be necessary if we have love. When you have love, you will never have the thought of evil against your neighbor. When you love your neighbor, if they offend you, it would be easy for you to forgive them. There is no law greater than having love. If we must serve God and follow him or if we want to know God more, then what we should do is to have love.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”1 John 4:8 KJV
What it does is that when we are showing love to others, we are fulfilling the commandment and this draws us closer to God.
If we are being told that we should love our enemies, what kind of enemy is the bible talking about?
We should not forget that the number one enemy of man is the devil, Satan – he is always seeking to kill, to steal, and to destroy. Is the Bible telling us to love Satan?
“Be sober, be vigilant; because of your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”1 Peter 5:8 KJV
God can never tell us to love Satan. People use to misunderstand what the bible is telling us concerning the issue of loving one’s enemy. The kind of enemy that God is telling us to love and not hate is the common man. the neighbor who hates you because you are a Christian. The colleague that does not want you to get promoted. These are the kind of people that Jesus is telling you to lobe regardless.
Examples of loving your enemies in the Bible
The first in the Bible is Jesus. The kind of Love that Jesus displayed was an uncommon love. The first step to show this love is by coming to this sinful world. Jesus came down from Glory and show His love by choosing to stay amongst men. The day sin entered the world, man has become the enemy of God – automatically, we were enemies of Jesus.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”Colossians 1:21 KJV
Jesus came down, not minding the state we were with Him. The second act of love is by dying for our sins. We were saved when Jesus died for our sins, we were sinners. That is a wonderful love displayed in the Bible by Jesus.
The third was when He was arrested. His enemies had come to arrest Him and kill Him but He displayed love there. One of His followers pulled out his sword and struck the servant of the high priest cutting off his right hear. Jesus out of Love for everybody healed the man.
“And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”Luke 22:51 KJV
At the point of death, Jesus displayed and act of love – He prayed for the people who persecuted Him. Luke 23:34.
Stephen made an extraordinary statement before he died. He was stoned to death by a group of men led by Saul of Tarsus who later became Paul. Before Stephen died, He prayed for his enemies, those who were persecuting him.
“And he kneeled, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”Acts 7:60 KJV
Enemies can be the last people that we learn to love as it can seem a far stretch. Amazing testimonies have shown that people who were once enemies can become loved ones – what true love that is. This is something we must all strive for as we become more Christ-like.