Love your Enemies.
I present to you Luke 6:27-36
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you the English Standard Version (ESV) says.
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Luke 6:27-29 (ESV)
Is this even possible?
Why would I want to do this towards the person who has caused me so much pain and trouble in my life? And if I did this, would there be any benefit?
I won’t spend hours dissecting these verses, but when someone gets free of abuse, finds themselves as a divorced single parent or even has to live with life-long injuries from the abuse they suffered, they need to consider the council these verses offer.
I wrongly spent many years believing that if I followed these verses and turned my cheek just one more time, God would redeem my terrible situation and change my abuser. That didn’t happen. And these versus aren’t an argument for being subjected to domestic violence. But, when I was finally wise enough to get away from my abuser, I found myself back at these verses, needing to forgive to move on. Because un-forgiveness reaps bitterness, ultimately giving the abuse control over you.
Take a moment to read the whole text.
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (ESV)
Jesus wisely reminds us what was done for us because our Father is merciful. And if we do so to others, our reward will be great and we will be sons of the Most High. Great news!
But here is the part I really love. “Expecting nothing in return.” I did not actually need to receive acknowledgement that he received my forgiveness, I just needed to give it. In my case, I wrote a letter, because in-person contact with my abuser was still very volatile. I cannot tell you if he ever received it or read it, but, I know that genuinely forgiving him before God released relief, grace and mercy into my life. I was able to deal with encounters with a healthy attitude. I didn’t have to be bitter. I didn’t have to waste energy being excessively angry. I could move on and love those around me.
Loving your enemy God’s way works, try Luke 6:27-36 on for yourself and test it out.
I appreciate you stopping by, if I can pray for you, do not hesitate to let me know.