Loving Your Enemies

“Do not give what is holy to dogs,
 and do not throw your pearls before swine,
or they will trample them under their feet,
and turn and tear you to pieces.”
Matthew 7:6

“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned,

and turn away from them.
For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites;
and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
Romans 16:17-18

This is hard teaching.  As Christians we get the wrong impression that we are supposed to love everyone.  The vengeance and harshness that David shows towards his enemies in the Psalms repulses us.  But, these are Jesus’ own words.  How do we live this out?

We are to reach out and encourage one another within the church.  We are to reach out and witness to and show by our love the love of God to others.  But, whether in the church or outside of the church, we are to be discerning.  If you find that someone that you are trying to help is lying, backstabbing, gossiping, misusing what you have given, etc…, then you should pray about it and probably back away from that person.

My husband and I have been in the ministry for many years.  There are three types of people: 1.) those who want help, respond to your help, and change 2.) Those who respond to your help, but over time continue to make bad choices and refuse to apply God’s word and your help to their lives, and 3.) Those who don’t want help and lie to you or use you up with no intent of changing or growing.  This is where your discernment must be used.  The second type of person is the hardest to figure out.  Always take all things to God in prayer.  Maybe offer a one-time help rather than becoming a friend. 

And no guilt!  Jesus was not best friends with the Pharisees!  Rather He called them white-washed tombs!  He healed many but did not become friends with all of them.  Only those that He knew would listen and change and be sincere did He allow to become friends.  Friends should be equals in spiritual matters.  “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever:  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a)  This is often applied to marriage, but should be applied to all areas of our lives – friendship, business, etc…

Jesus does tell us to love our enemies and then He gives us the way to do that: pray for your enemies. (Matthew 5:44).  Only God can change a heart.

 

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