Summary: Ask God to give you love for your enemies.
1. The word “enemy” is in quotation marks to show they are not permanent enemies.
2. Beware of “enemies’ lists.” Only list them for prayer.
3. Looking through Jesus’ eyes will change everything.
4. Don’t be naive. The Bible doesn’t say; “If” you have enemies. It says, “Love your enemies” because you will have them.
B. JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARDS YOUR “ENEMY”
“You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you . . . whoever slaps you on your right cheek; turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also . . . you have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:38-44).
1. Jesus wants them saved. “The Lord is . . . not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
2. Jesus died for them. “When we were enemies (to God), we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10).
3. If Jesus can suffer for them, what will you do for them?
4. Jesus asks you to do the impossible. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor” (Rom. 13:9-10).
5. Jesus commands you to win them to salvation. “Knowing . . . the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11). Does God’s terror punish: (a) them, (b) you?
C. PROTECT YOURSELF AS YOU RELATE TO THEM
1. God’s spiritual protection.
a. Remember God’s promise, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, KJV).
b. Ask for angelic protection. “Because you have made the Lord . . . the Most High your dwelling place. No evil shall befall you . . . He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways” (Ps. 91:9-11, NKJV).
c. Claim the hedge of protection. Job had a “hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side” (Job 1:10)?
2. Yield to God’s purpose in your life. Maybe God led an “enemy” into your life to “save” him. “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
3. It’s alright to flee and not fight. “When (not if) they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another” (Matt. 10:23).
a. Joseph took baby Jesus from Herod’s persecution (Matt. 2:13).
b. The early church left Jerusalem when Saul persecuted them (Acts 8:1-4).
c. Paul claimed Roman citizenship (Acts 16:37; 25:10).
4. Make sure you are not disliked because you are lazy, do sloppy work or have a rotten attitude. “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evil doer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters” (1 Peter 4:15).
5. Have a strategy to win the issue and win their good relationship. Esther had a plan, “Fast for me . . . three days . . . and so will I go to the king” (Est. 4:16).
D. YOUR ATTITUDE AND ACTION TOWARDS YOUR “ENEMY”
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:17-21).
1. Don’t retaliate. “Repay no man evil for evil” (Rom. 5:17).
2. Ask God to give you love for them. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies” (Matt. 5:43-44).
Why Is Forgiveness The Hardest Prayer?
1. They may deserve your punishment.
2. It’s easy and natural to get even.
3. It makes you feel good to get even.
4. Others expect you to defend yourself.
5. The crowd will applaud you.
3. Give them the example of Christ, instead of a reflection of your old nature.
What Would Jesus Do?
1. He wouldn’t answer foolish criticism (Matt. 27:12).
2. He prayed for their forgiveness (Luke 23:34).