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Thoughts on loving your enemies - part two

In the previous post we looked at the fact that it is hard to learn to love enemies in the heat of battle and that the starting point is to form an intention to become the sort of person that easily and routinely loves enemies, prays for them and blesses them.

To become that sort of person various things will need to change and in this post we will begin to explore what they are.

I think the most powerful example of love for enemies is found in Jesus.  I find it most remarkable that in the middle of the humiliation and pain of his crucifixion he is able to say 'Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing'.

This gives us a clue about where to start in a journey to becoming a person who loves our enemies:  A person who routinely loves their enemies has a different view of reality.  Jesus prayed the prayer because he had a different view of reality than the soldiers, the thieves who were crucified next to him, or the crowd who were looking on.

It is no accident that immediately prior to the teaching on loving your enemies (Luke 6:27-36), Jesus teaches a different view of reality (see Luke 6:17-26).

In this passage Jesus' teaches that true blessing is not in conditions of riches (as compared to poverty), laughter (as compared to weeping), or acceptance by people (as compared to rejection).  Rather, true blessing is found in being His disciple in the Kingdom of God (v20).

The key to learning to love our enemies is learning that we are perfectly safe in God's Kingdom.  As Paul so eloquently says: 'I am convinced that nothing ... nothing else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God' (Romans 8:28-39).  When a child is confronted by a big dog they will have either a fight or flight response.  It is the same for us when someone is our enemy - we will either want to fight back or run away.  But if the child is picked up by his/her father and is held in his strong arms, then the need to fight or flight is taken away.  As we experience and learn to trust being held in God's strong arms we can then begin to let go of the need to fight or flee.  This different view of reality gives us the space to be able to think about loving the other person and doing them good.

Pray that you would know deep in your soul that God loves you, that nothing can separate you from that love and that God can work everything to the good.  You may like to read Romans 8:28-39 several times, even work at memorizing it so that you can bring it to mind often.  This view of reality needs to move from a principle in the bible to a reality in our lives.

David Wanstall, 08/06/2010