“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Have you ever hurt a friend? Maybe you’ve ignored a classmate? Perhaps you’ve excluded friends from a game or a group activity? Maybe you’ve said something mean? Maybe you’ve even hit other people?
How would you expect the person you hurt to respond? Would they trust you? Would they try to do the same to you?
What if the person you mistreated responded with kindness? Would you be surprised if the person you hurt invited you to be part of a game despite your actions? What if they forgave you without getting revenge?
God says we are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. Why? Because this is what Jesus did for us! Every time we do something bad, Jesus had that sin nailed to the cross with Him. We want to behave in a way that appreciates the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
Jesus asks us to love our enemies because only God has all the information and therefore, only God is able to judge. Perhaps our “enemy” is going through a tough time and they really just need a friend. And we have a friend in Jesus. Our loving actions can point them to Him. We display the love of Jesus by doing good to others, especially our enemies.
Even if our good actions toward those who hate us won’t change their behavior, we change our behavior because of Jesus’ good action. With Jesus in our hearts, we can draw from His courage and do what He would do in every situation. By blessing those who are mean to us, we show that Jesus gives us joy even when we aren’t happy because we are hurt.
Read Philippians 1:27. How does this scripture help us understand why we should love our enemies?
Why does God want us to pray for those who mistreat us? What will God do about it?
How did you answer those questions at the top? Is there someone you can apologize to? Make a commitment today to return hatred with love. Report your results to your family. Remember it might take many loving responses before someone’s heart is changed.