Loving Your Enemies
By Eileen Renders November 2023
This is a topic that may be a bit confusing to many, and it is easy to understand why, loving someone who is against us or has purposefully hurt us is a difficult task for anyone to feel sincere love for.
Yet it is in the understanding of how we approach this idea that can make a huge difference. How many times have we heard, for example, a parent forgiving someone who has murdered their child and that parent has found it in their heart to forgive the perpetrator? How many times have we forgiven a spouse, a sibling, or someone we love for saying unkind words to us in anger? It recalling a few times that we forgave, someone for hurting us, we usually cannot recall the number of times we have had to forgive, and only the recent times come to mind.
Or for example; Peter went to Jesus and asked; “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, I'll tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven, is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
When we forgive someone who has wronged us, and hurt us deeply, we may feel anger, resentment, or even revenge toward that person. Often, we become so focused on our inner hurt that it becomes an outward lashing out of anger in retalliation. Soon, we begin to see how much we are hurting ourselves by languishing on our pain, and desire for revenge. We can become physologically and physiologically ill. This kind of sickness not only affects one’s self, but all those around them. Therefore, we have given control of our life up to that individual who has wronged us.
In contemplating forgiveness, it should be said that “loving our enemies” is offered in a very broad sense of the meaning. In other words, forgiving our enemies, loving our enemies does not in any way, include the idea of hugging the, remembering them on their birthday, or inviting them over for dinner. It means simply that we forgive them and will no longer harbor a deep grudge, but let them go and allow God to be the one who judges them.
In letting go, we are not letting done ourselves, or our murdered loved one, we are attempting to continue our life in a positive meaningful way. In a manner perhaps, that can be respected and admired. Inward struggles in life are common. How we might handle those struggles can define who we are. A very positive way to approach these internal struggles might be to ask ourselves; “What would God do? What does God want me to do?” reflect on that a bit, and God will guide you.