Tuesday, January 04, 2011

How can you Love your Enemy?

I think one of Jesus' most difficult commands is to love your enemy. Do you have a family member, a co-worker, an acquaintance who you can't stand? They are the person who opposes you, or annoys you, or thinks they're better than you, or who has hurt you deeply. Here are a few practical suggestions to begin the work of forgiving them... it may even lead to loving them.

  1. Determine what you think they owe you and then cancel the debt - Decide what it was that they took from you. What do you believe they owe you? Be honest, there is probably nothing they could do to make it right. The work of love and forgiveness is up to you. So, make a list...then cancel the debt, decide to forgive. Take list and burn it – bury it. Determine that he/she doesn't owe you anymore.
  2. Speak kindly to them and about them - I heard one time that when it comes to conflicts that rage like fires, each of us carries both a bucket of gasoline and a bucket of water. We get to choose which bucket we'll use. Our words can ignite the flames of anger or they can begin resolution. David, when he spoke about Saul (who was trying to kill him), was overly gracious with his words.
  3. When the opportunity presents itself to take them down ... don’t. There will come a time, in many cases, when the person who hates you most, the person who has hurt you, gossiped about you, spread lies about you... there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to take them down - to deliver the kill shot to their reputation. Don’t do it. That’s the time you must be a blessing.

This is the meaning of Christian love.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech." 1 Peter 3:9-10

Thanks to John Ortberg for his inspiration for this post. 

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