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Why You Should Love Your Enemies

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

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Enemy: Definition

An enemy is a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something. An enemy is one who seeks to do harm to another for no apparent reason. It is interesting that some enemies start out as friends, and then something went wrong in the relationship. We see this very often in the divorce court. In fact, the word enemy is derived from Latin for "bad friend."

Other words for enemy include the following ones:

  • opponent
  • adversary
  • foe
  • archenemy
  • rival

An enemy is not limited to just individuals. It can also be an entire group of people who don't like another whole group of people. Sports teams and gangs can be rivals. They can be threatening to each other. Nations can be enemies. That why there are wars. We see this throughout the Old Testament when we read about enemies of the Israelites, God's own people.

Enemies of God's People

God's own people had lots of enemies. We read in the Bible about certain groups of people who were against God's own people. Some of them included the followings:

  • Amalekites
  • Ammonites
  • Assyrians
  • Babylonians
  • Canaanites and the surrounding nations
  • Edomites
  • Jebusites
  • Moabites
  • Syrians
  • Philistines

Israel's enemies were more numerous and better equipped than Israel. They were cruel and oppressive and determined to destroy Israel. It was no denying that God's own people had enemies. In fact, there are many times in the Bible when God allowed the enemies to defeat His own people for a reason. However, at the end when it mattered the most, God saw to it that His people were victorious.

Feelings and Actions of Enemies

There are many emotions and bad feelings associated with enemies whether they are warranted or not. Emotions usually include anger, envy, fear, frustrations, hatred, jealousy, and distrust. Enemies tend to have competitive spirits.

Sometimes enemies lash out for no apparent reasons with rage, violence, arguments, and fights. The main goal of an enemy is to get the upper hand over someone. An enemy is determined to come out on top no matter what it takes for them to do so.

Do Not Hate Your Enemy

It is human nature to hate your enemy, and most people of the world do hate their enemies. However, God commands us to love our enemies. It is easy to love our families and friends who love us.

Why would God command us to love those who mistreat us, hurt us and harm us in every way they can? Why should we love those who hate us? Why should we turn the other cheek when we want to fight back? Those are very good questions, and the Bible gives us good answers.

Jesus said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

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What Is Gained By Loving Your Enemies

God wants us to love our enemies for several reasons. He wants us to love our enemies because it often starts us on the path to making major changes in our own lives. In other words, your enemies will help you grow spiritually.

You might have heard it said, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." There is a reason for that but not in a negative way. People gain several things by loving their enemies.

  • When you love your enemies, you overcome evil with good.
  • When you love your enemies, you show that Jesus is the Lord of your life.
  • When you love your enemies, you do what God wants you to do.
  • When we love our enemies, they put you on our knees more often in prayer.
  • Your friends will not point out your faults, but your enemies will. That will help you in the long run.
  • Your enemies will make you see what needs to be changed in your life while your friends will overlook your faults.