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Sunday, April 21, 2013

How and Why to Love Our Enemies

by Cheryle M. Touchton

This week, our nation watched, prayed, and cried as horrific events unfolded in Boston. As Bob and I watched the news, my roboticist hubby also gave me unsolicited lessons about LRADs (long range acoustic device,) robots neutralizing the IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) by detonating tiny explosives of their own, and FLIRs, (forward looking infra red cameras.) Those devices are necessary because we have enemies. Fox News talked about our enemies going to hell. The news caster mentioned that one of the bombers was already in hell and the youngest of the bombers, Dzhokhar will soon be there. I wanted to weep. If someone had loved those young men enough to introduce them to the Prince of Peace in time, so much heartbreak could have been avoided. Yes, they are our enemies. Yes, I too struggle with anger. However, the Bible clearly states what our response to enemies is to be. While praying for the victims, will you join me in praying that young Dzhokhar meets Jesus?

How to Love Your Enemy

Step 1: Know your enemy: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matt 10:16

Who in your life:
  • Is an adversary or foe?
  • Is someone you consider an enemy?
  • Hurts you in some way?
  • Is using you selfishly?
  • Is keeping you from reaching God’s purpose for your life?
  • Does not have your best interest at heart?
  • Is trying to manipulate your behavior?
  • Gossips about you?
  • Enables or encourages you to live contrary to God’s word?
Step 2: Examine your own behavior and confess to God and to someone trustworthy: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:9-10

Who do you:
  • Criticize or complain about?
  • Try to control or manipulate?
  • Try to rescue?
  • Gossip about?
  • Keep from reaching God’s purpose for their life?
  • Deliberately do damage to?
  • Enable or encourage to live contrary to God’s word?
  • Use selfishly?

Step 3: Ask for forgiveness and for God to help you change your behavior and attitude: For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Heb 8:12

Step 4: Change your behavior. Stop acting like an enemy! Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

Step 5: Begin doing good to your enemies: If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22

Step 6: Love and pray for your enemy: But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matt 5:44

Why to Love Your Enemy

There is a physical benefit: A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
  • There is a psychological benefit: As a person thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7
  • There is a relationship benefit: Overlook an offense and bond a friendship. Fasten on to a slight and goodbye friend. Proverbs 17:9
  • There is a spiritual benefit: If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 and The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed. Proverbs 11:25
  • There is a kingdom benefit: If all you do is love the lovable, so you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. You are kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live generously and graciously toward others the way God lives towards you. Matthew 5:46-48