Loving Your Enemies

January 3, 2020

“Why does the Lord command us to love our enemies and to pray for them? Not for their sake, but for ours! For as long as we bear grudges, as long as we dwell on how someone offended us, we will have no peace.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

 

“Yes, we never touch the ocean of God’s love as much as when we love our enemies. It is such a joy to accept forgiveness, but it is almost a greater joy to give forgiveness." (Corrie ten Boom)

 

“As followers of Jesus Christ, we should be like Him. We should do the same: love our enemies, and forgive those who have hurt us. And if we really do that, it will be the case that, from our side anyway, we won't have enemies. They may still see us as enemies, but we won't see them as enemies. If, as Christ commands, we love and forgive our enemies, they really won't be our enemies anymore. St. Ephraim of Syria wrote about this sixteen hundred years ago: "Do not have any enemies except for Satan himself.” (Father Andrew Harmon)

 

“As Christians, we affirm the Nicene Creed as our complete statement of faith. Part of the Creed is affirming our belief in both the visible and invisible. The visible person who we see, who hates us or we think hates us, who is attacking us in any way, is really not our enemy, though of course it seems and very much feels emotionally that way. It is really the invisible person behind the visible person who is our true enemy. When we pray for persons like this, we are actually inoculating ourselves against hatred. To make us hateful is the purpose and goal of the true enemy. It’s not easy at all but this is why Christ told us to love and pray for our enemies. We need to trust Him about this.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

 

“Opposition to Christ’s message appears very early in the Gospel (Mk 3:2, 6) and continues throughout His ministry. Now, opportunity presents itself to His opponents at last. One of the Lord’s disciples, Judas Iscariot, goes “his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them,” even as they “sought how they might kill Him” (Lk 22:4, 2). “While the Lord is still in Galilee the scribes and Pharisees “begin to assail Him vehemently,” cross-examining Him and “lying in wait for Him and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him” (Luke 11:53-54)…All of these men may be considered His visible enemies but let us consider the true enemy who lurks behind the scenes. As the chief priests are plotting, “Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot” (Luke 22:3). This verse changes our perspective on the war for eternal life and points to the underlying reality. Yes, the spies, captains, scribes, Pharisees, chief priests, and a traitor from Christ’s inner circle merge to form a cadre of opposition. However, they are mere enlistees – pawns of the real enemy, Satan. In fact, the Lord prays for these very men from the Cross, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Dynamis 1/3/2020)

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