The Forty: Day Six
Devotional 6: Love Your Enemies
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:27-42
Of all the things Jesus asks of us as Christians, loving our enemies is one of the hardest pills for us to swallow. We all have people in our lives who irritate or annoy us, those who intentionally or even unintentionally hurt us. Sometimes our complaints about these people are legitimate, but other times we often overreact and become hypersensitive. So how should we respond? We may find it easy to gossip about them, to hurt them, or to just ignore them altogether. But Jesus tells us none of these are options for His followers!
So how do we handle our enemies? How can we begin to change the position of our hearts towards those who may not like us? In each of the situations presented in the Scripture readings for today, Jesus asks us to do the thing that would be least expected. Not only are we told to not“ hit back” but to “offer the other cheek also.” It’s not just “give to everyone who asks” but “don’t demand back what has been taken.” God calls us to take the high road, to be the ones who take the first bold step in love. Even though it won’t be easy, responding to our enemies with love instead of hate changes the path of not only our lives but theirs as well!
When we spread the love of Christ to others without expectation of anything in return, we are getting us out of us, and Jesus into us. We allow the Holy Spirit to dictate our actions instead of responding out of hate or hurt. When we bring God into our messy situations, we open the door for His supernatural intervention. That’s why it’s important for us to not just love our enemies, but to pray for them as well. We need to pray that they come to know the love that Christ has for them and they accept Him into their hearts.
Loving your enemies is not the burden it seems to be. It’s actually a blessing! You will find freedom in loving your enemy as they no longer are able to control your thoughts and emotions. Hatred is no longer the initial reflex. Gossip is no longer the response. God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, without judgment and without condemnation. What Jesus asks of us is hard, but not impossible. He is inviting us, not only to forgiveness and love, but to something more; freedom and happiness.
- What has been your first reaction when you see one of your “enemies”?
- How can you change your approach to love your “enemies” more?
- What freedom have you found as a direct result of choosing to love your “enemies”?
*Contributed by Steve Billingsley