“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Matthew 5:43 NKJV
Indeed, it has been said throughout history.
And it makes sense to the hurting heart.
Especially, if one’s enemy is out to kill.
But God requires something far more difficult.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV
To love one’s enemy is truly beyond anything our nature would come up with.
Praying for one’s enemy doesn’t consist of selfish prayers.
Instead, we are to pray for others with the love God showed us.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NKJV
Loving others doesn’t mean you have removed all boundaries.
In fact God’s Word is full of boundaries.
Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.
Proverbs 22:24-25 NKJV
Proverbs 13:20 KJV — He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth. I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites. I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked.
Psalms 26:3-5 NKJV
It is love that sets boundaries in place and realizes that boundaries are healthy and important.
But these boundaries have to be set up in accordance to God’s Word.
Love’s boundaries are written down for us.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
I Corinthians 13:4-10 NKJV
Jesus warned the disciples what they were going to encounter and gave them direction.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Matthew 10:16 NKJV
(Read the remaining chapter and look at the book of Acts. Jesus was giving them a glimpse into the future.)
Leading with love understands that true love comes from God.
Therefore, to be able to love our enemies we must understand God’s love, to look at life’s circumstances through God’s Word, to apply the boundaries of life to our own.
Leading with love means our perspective is bent through the lense of Scripture.
It also means loving God first and best.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching us how to love. Thank You for loving us first. Lord, it is completely counter to our feelings to love our enemies. At times hurt, pain, suffering is overwhelming and distorts our perspective. Lord, please fill our hearts with Your love and Your Word. Please help us to watch carefully over our hearts that we not allow bitterness to dwell there. Lord Jesus, please open our minds to learning from Your Word the way to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. For only in You can we find these things. Lord, Your ways are perfect and we want to walk in them. Please help us to do so. Thank You. Amen.