“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” ~Jesus
Love my enemies?
Do good to those who hate me?
Bless those who curse me?
Pray for those who mistreat me?
ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
These are some of the most difficult things to do, not just as a Christian, but as a human being. These two verses, Luke 6:27 and 28, spoken by Christ Himself, go against the very grain of our spirits—if our spirits are not one with Christ. In context, Jesus is preaching this to the hypocritical religious people who believed they had all they would ever need–without Him.
In Luke 6, Jesus begins with some very encouraging words for those who believed in Him. Then, all of the sudden, He starts to pick apart the lives of the Jews who did not believe in Him. With a fury of verbal jabs, He boxes the legalists into a corner–those who thought that because they were following sacred Jewish laws, they had no use for Him as the Messiah. Many of them were extremely successful financially, while basking arrogantly as commandment-following public figures. In turn, they hated Jesus because He was exposing them for the impostors they truly were.
Right before He tells them to love their enemies, do good to those who hate them, bless those who curse them, and pray for the people who mistreat them, He lays out just how far off-base they are with their lifestyles and nasty hearts. These men and women refused to put their grace-hating mindsets away and simply believe in Him. In turn, He scoffed at their artificial righteousness:
“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets” (Luke 6:24-26).
Just like today’s legalistic Christians, the Jews who looked to religion rather than to faith in Christ, these were some of the most decrepit people on the planet. Jesus makes this perfectly clear as He continues to tear them apart for the next 23 verses. Even though their lives appeared to be great, He made sure they knew how messed up they really were.
But for us, for those who believe, what does He say about us? Jesus makes an amazing claim! He said we will do even greater things than Him! (See John 14:12). How is this possible? It’s possible because we have His Spirit in us–ALL OF US! He’s no longer the only human to have God’s Spirit indwell His body! We now have Him too! Jesus’ Spirit literally lives inside of every single Christian! (See Romans 8:9). His Spirit–the Holy Spirit–is everywhere in everyone who believes! This is the “how” we can do even greater things than He did! This is the hope of glory for all of humanity! GOD IN US! (See Colossians 1:27).
God in us is who teaches us how to love our enemies, and one of the greatest things He wants for all of us, is peace. These same harsh verses, which were spoken to the faithless people who criticized Jesus, we too can tap into them when we forget who we really are inside.
When we need to refocus on Jesus we can look at these impossible, legalistic verses, and say, “You know what? I’m not like this. This stuff does not describe me. You’re right Holy Spirit!” So by reaffirming our identity in Christ, peace comes back to us. Therefore, when we forget who we are–holy, blameless, co-heirs with Christ–all we need to do is look at a dirty mirror. Christ in us then says, “Wipe that off so you can see your face.”
As Christians, we don’t live by any written rules, laws, or commands (see Romans 3:21-22, 7:8), plainly stated, we don’t have to do anything. Instead, on this side of the Cross, we want to do things, and we want to not do things. We live from a want to, not a have to. As heaven-ready beings, we have desires written on our hearts because the very fabric of our hearts is woven together in a supernatural mesh with God’s own Holy Spirit (Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
So the results of us being in God, and God being in us, causes us to find delight in doing things His Spirit is guiding us to do–and His Spirit always wants you to be at peace with everyone, as far as it concerns you (see Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14). I repeat: as far as it concerns you.
These are the key words to remember in regard to having peaceful relationships with those who try to cause us harm. For me, because of the cobweb and dust-filled parts of my unrenewed codependent thinking–which I’ve abandoned–at first, this was hard to learn. However, over time, the Holy Spirit has led me to a sweet-spot of recovery by teaching me how I can “be at peace with others as far as it concerns me.” He wants to do the same for you!
By simply learning how to say, “No, that’s not going to work for me”–among many other boundary-defining expressions–He has helped change the landscape of my self-pity-soaked life for the better, by leading me into peace. This peace came from my confidence, my confidence came from understanding my value, and understanding my value came from knowing Jesus loves me so much He died for me.
Heaven will be a very peaceful place! Once we shed these fleshy-shells and enter into eternity, we will never have to worry about any enemy–that’s because we won’t have any enemies in heaven! But for now, we can enjoy a heavenly peace while still in these bodies, this happens through the guidance of the Holy Spirit!
So today, my friends, do this: Listen to God, just…listen…begin to tap into the Person inside of you and allow Him to teach you how to love your enemies, make no mistake, He will! You’ve got all of the graceful strength you’ll ever need, right inside of you, right now! Peace awaits you!
A prayer for you: God, thank you for your Spirit in me. It hasn’t been easy, but by allowing my mindset to be transformed by your guidance, I HAVE found your peace. I thank you. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who have shouted at you, “NO! IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!” please begin to teach them how to trust you. You ARE fair. Help them to understand that IN their weakness they’ll find strength! Especially when you are teaching them how to love their enemies! Guide them today, protect them today, and help them to understand your grace on the deepest level possible. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!