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Loving Your Enemies | Loving Christ

Loving your enemies doesn’t come easily, but we are called to do that very thing.

 

Acts 7:59-60 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

It's so hard to react in love when dealing with mean, angry, spiteful people. We can't do it alone. Only the Holy Spirit can help us in loving our enemies.

When I think of how upset I get at the people I feel have wronged me, I realize I want to react differently then how I initially do. It’s so easy to spout anger and even hatred back at those mean, angry, spiteful people, isn’t it? But that’s not how I want to be, not when I’m trying to keep my heart open and allow Christ to live through me.

This story of Stephen reminds me of Jesus praying, “Forgive them, Father, for they do not know what they’re doing (Luke 23:34),” as he was being crucified. Stephen’s response, his ability to feel love for his enemies, can only be from the power of the Holy Spirit. He prayed forgiveness for his enemies just as Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him

Can you imagine people throwing stones at you, in the process of killing you, and you praying out to Jesus not to hold your enemies’ sins against them? Wow, I sure can’t. I wish I could be like that every moment, but that is an area I am definitely a work in progress.

As a child, I threw rocks back at the kids who threw them at me. I tripped the kid who tripped me. I argued and fussed with and complained about those who did the same to me. As an adult, I’m better. However, while I might not outwardly ‘get back’ at someone, I allow feelings of anger to fill me. I might only react by holding in that anger and seething inside. I might refuse to look at or speak to the other person. No matter that I’m not actually tripping or throwing things; I’m still failing to react lovingly.

If I try to respond kindly all on my own, I can’t do it. But the Holy Spirit is here for me, too, as it is for you. Only through the Spirit can we respond the way Stephen did, the way Jesus did, with love for our enemies. I know that’s what I want, and ooooh, even when it’s tough, that’s what I’m going to try. Won’t you, too?

Today’s Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, We thank you so much for loving us. Thank you for the Holy Spirit here within us which can help us in our reactions to others. Be with us as we strive to love our enemies always. In Your Name. Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

How would/do you react when someone hurts you?

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. I have been struggling with this issue for about a year, I have a friend whom I’ve known since we were 12, for over 50 years. We got married at the same time, had our first children 12 days apart, lived across the street from each other. Our relationship has been on and off through the years. I used to witness to her and she eventually gave her life to Christ. She became a member of the church I attend about 20 years ago. I see how she interacts with other people, but I know another side of her that they would not believe. I have finally got enough of her negative put downs and the final straw was a nasty remark about another friend of mine. This friend is so special to me and always lifts me up, cheers me on and is so grateful and loving. I know the remark by my life long friend was made out of jealousy and in 3 attempts to contact her, she brushed me off. I am hurt and disappointed. I do pray for her and I want to forgive, but at this point I’m tired of the drama. Even her daughter and granddaughter have told me they understand but they can’t escape her trying to control everybody’s life. I want to move on and not feel guilty about letting it go.

    1. It is so disappointing when those we love let us down. It’s also hard not to feel guilty, but sometimes we do just have to let things go. I love that you’re praying for her no matter what. Pray for God to help your heart as well so that you can forgive and let it go. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’ll stay as close friends but that you won’t harbor bitterness and resentment towards her. Those emotions just hold us back and keep us from allowing God to fill up the space inside of us. I will be praying for you and for the whole situation. God bless!

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