“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
Many people probably have people who they call enemies. Maybe it is someone who spreads nasty rumors about you or your family. Maybe someone who has said harsh things to your face. Maybe they are more favored than you. Perhaps society makes it seem they are our enemy. It could be a hundred other things that causes trouble between you and them. You probably despise them, find it hard to talk to them or don’t talk at all to them, and can’t stand being around them.
What do you do with those people?
WWJD (What would Jesus do?) can definitely be applied here. First Jesus tells us to love our enemy. In fact, He commands us to do so. Second Jesus shares with us a parable; the parable of the Good Samaritan. Read Luke 10:25-37. The lawyer asked Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” You remember how Samaritans and Jews were enemies. Also remember that the priests and Levites were neighbors, fellow Jews with this man. But who cared for him? The Samaritan took care of this half dead Jew while the priest and Levite pretended they did not see him. The Samaritan was the true neighbor. Third Jesus gives us an example and the means by which we can love one another. After all those men who flogged, mocked, beat and ultimately murdered Jesus, were still loved by Him. Think of it, Jesus asked His Father in heaven, as He hung on the cross, the very instrument of torture and death that they designed for Him, to forgive them and others who persecuted him.
It may not be easy to love your rivals, but know that they are human, and they may feel guilty now. We are all sinful and have fallen short. I would encourage you to pray for them and talk to them. Don’t give up. Pray for them, love them, and speak kindly of them. Extra verses - Proverbs 25:21-22 and John 13:34
Prayer - Dear Father, keep me humble when someone hurts me. I ask for guidance when approaching them. Please give me kind words and thoughts as well as a voice to say those words in love. Continue to give me your love so that I may love them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.