Holy in the Daily

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The choice to love your enemy isn’t top of mind these days. Just listen to the news or scroll through social media, and you’ll find that hate seems to be the fuel behind the hottest topics.

After all, it’s a cruel world out there. If we don’t stand against those threatening our values, beliefs, and loved ones, then we condone or encourage evil.

Yet, that isn’t what the world’s greatest radical said or did. (And few people think he was condoning or encouraging evil.)

Instead, He told us,

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV).

But, of course, you don’t have any enemies. No armies are invading your city or killing your children at the moment, so this command doesn’t fit you. Or does it?

  • Who’s betrayed or hurt you deeply, causing stress, anxiety, and suffering?
  • Is there someone who drains your mental and emotional energy when you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about them?
  • Who do you avoid and why?
  • If you could wish someone off the planet, who would it be?

God’s love always draws people close. Judgment and hate are attitudes and feelings that are opposed to love. They want distance and separation from another.

Gregory A. Boyd said,

Every judgment we make of another blocks the flow of God’s love through us, for we cannot ascribe worth to another while we are detracting worth from him or her in our thoughts, words, or deeds.

Our judgment of another reveals that we don’t want to love them. That person is our enemy. The exact person who Jesus tells us to love.

So, let’s get personal. Because you can’t love who you can’t identify.

Who's Your Enemy?

  • Your ex?
  • The individual who is intolerant of your beliefs and values?
  • A neighbor who parties late into the night when you need to sleep and lets their dog poop in your yard?
  • Someone in government or running for office?
  • The last person who offended you?
  • A dictator who is waging war against your nation?
  • The relative who drives you crazy because you ( fill in the blank )?
  • An abusive boss or family member?

Great! You’ve identified an enemy. Let’s look at what loving that person looks like.

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Four Empowering Ways to Love Your Enemy


Once a day, write down one or two things you are grateful for concerning your enemy.

Don’t write something that reflects your judgments, “I’m grateful they are getting evicted from their house. They deserve to be evicted.”

Write something that reflects God’s view of them as having unsurpassable worth. For example, “I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit is working to bring (name of person) to the place where they can feel and respond to God’s love.”

Looking at your enemy through the God-Who-Is-Love’s eyes will change how you view your enemy.

If you need a viewfinder for this action, check out 1 Corinthians 13.


Whenever your thoughts dwell on what your enemy has done to you, interrupt those thoughts with a blessing.

A simple blessing might sound like, “I bless (name of person) with wisdom and grace.”

For more details on how blessing an enemy changes things, read 5 Surprising Benefits of Creating a Blessing.


Instead of ruminating on your enemy negatively, try to love your enemy by praying for them.

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead your prayer because He can guide you in what is the best way to lovingly pray for the person. Only He knows their innermost struggles, wounds, and needs.


You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you (Matthew 5:38-42 ESV).

This is challenging. Jesus tells us to respond in awe-inspiring love instead of reacting like our enemy is behaving.

Jesus is not saying to continue to allow someone to abuse you. That would be unloving. Nor is He saying you should enable a person to break the law, as that is not awe-inspiring love.

What does this Matthew 5:38-42 command look like in your situation? Ask the Holy Spirit for ideas and to empower you to creatively put your feet to these scriptures.

If you can make these 4 activities part of dealing with an enemy, you’ll find God moving in your heart and changing your relationship with the person. Because by learning to love your enemy, you will have changed.

Now, go out there and change the world, one enemy at a time.

For more practical ways to love your enemy, see How to Love Your Enemy … Or Other Not-so-nice People.

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