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How to Love Your Enemy … Or Other Not-so-nice People

Last week on my Spiritual Legacy Facebook page, Jana asked for some practical pointers on how to love your enemy. (See Matthew 5:43-44.)

That’s an important topic if you’re wanting those who watch your life to learn about your faith.

First off, I don’t think you can begin to love your enemy unless you’ve started the process of forgiving that not-so-nice person. This isn’t easy!

What about forgiveness?

When the disciples asked Jesus how many times they should forgive someone, Jesus answered 70 x 7. (See Matthew 18:21-22.)

What strikes me about this answer is that Jesus is talking about forgiving ONE person!

So considering that there are probably a lot of people who offend us, this means that we are all becoming experts at forgiveness … right?

I don’t think so. At least I’m not an experienced expert in the forgiveness arena. And I’ll bet you aren’t either. (Don’t look so innocent now ….)

At least Jesus understands. His answer indicates that forgiveness is a process we go through over and over again with each person who’s offended us … until it finally sticks.

So … knowing that forgiveness is a process, can you learn how to love your enemy while you are still forgiving them?

Learn how to love your enemy

  • Think about all the times you’ve been a jerk.

How you’ve offended people, whether you intended to or not. And how you’ll be a jerk again before you land on Heaven’s shores. And that God has forgiven you—every time.

This awareness unlocks the grace doorway that you’ll need to walk through in order to love your enemy.

  • Ask the Lord to show you where your enemy has been wounded.

Somewhere in your enemy’s past, something happened that hurt him. Somehow you, or some totally unrelated situation, have triggered that memory in him … thus causing his mistreatment of you.

You may never know the details, but knowing that there is some type of wounding will help you have compassion for him.

Taking the time to listen to the Lord on behalf of another makes learning how to love your enemy a lot easier.

And compassion begins to open the grace doorway a little wider.

  • Pray for the person.

Ask the Lord to heal his wound and forgive his sin against you. Then ask the Lord to help you forgive the individual.

  • Do something nice for the person. Go the extra mile for him.

When you give something to your enemy, it pushes the grace doorway open the rest of the way. 

  • Ask the Spirit to guide you through His grace doorway into the supernatural power you need to forgive and love your enemy.
  • Now go back to to the top … rinse and repeat.

Sorry guys, learning how to love your enemy isn’t an easy peesy process. It’s not fun either. But it works, and it’s part of the Kingdom package you signed up for.

Looking for more on this topic? Check out:

4 Empowering Ways to Love Your Enemy

5 Surprising Benefits of Creating a Blessing

An invitation to 5 Day’s of Blessings

Sooo, what advice do you have for learning how to love your enemy? Share with us in the comment section below.

And if you have an enemy … I mean friend … you think might find this post helpful, please pass it on using one of the share buttons at the bottom of this post.

Helping you build your spiritual legacy,

Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Nanci

    Spiritual cattle prods? Ouch….i mean oh thanks for the nudge…. God is so faithful when we are in the process of learning and growing in our faith to “speak” it loud every where we turn. Heard it from two friends this week, read it in a devotional and now this “reminder” on the computer. The Lord wants us to learn to love like He does…. Thanks for the reminder………again.

  2. Susan Gaddis

    Glad to know I’m not the only one experiencing the rinse and repeat process of this, Nanci. And, you’re welcome. 🙂

  3. Diane

    This is so helpful! And HARD!
    I certainly struggle with loving certain people and this really helps me with steps and direction to take. Gives me hope for the relationships I am having a hard time with and reminds me of the Father’s love for me and I want to be more like Him.
    Thank you!

    1. Susan Gaddis

      Hi, Diane. Yes, it is hard, and you’re not alone in your struggle to love certain people that bug you. We’re all in this together, learning, practicing forgiveness, and loving those that we’d rather not. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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