Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Put to Flight”
“Ye have enemies, for who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves: love them. In no way can thy enemy so hurt thee by his violence, as thou dost hurt thyself if thou love him not.”
Is there someone who has come against me like an enemy?
Have I asked God to help me love this person?
“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him (or her) a friend.”
“But I say unto you which hear, ‘Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.’”
Luke 6: 27, 28
King James Version
Of all the words spoken by Jesus, I find none so difficult in personal application than the phrase, “Love your enemies.”
I know, all of us have run into someone who has plunged the dagger of evil into us, perhaps even twisting it a little to cause incredible pain.
Many years ago, my husband and I owned a small company. A competitor, thinking to “take us down” decided to start spreading falsehoods about us. I was livid! My immediate desire was to throw a poison dart right back at the offender. Thankfully, at that particular time I happened to be reading the Psalms. David had plenty of experience being stabbed by enemies. King Saul, to whom David did nothing wrong, threw a spear at him while he was playing his harp for the depressed Monarch. In Psalm 141, David penned these words: “Lord, I call upon You; hasten to me. Give ear to my voice when I cry to You.” Then David asked God for help: “Keep me from the traps which they (my enemies) have laid for me, and the snares of evildoers.”
As I read this passage, I began to get a clearer understanding of what Jesus meant when He asked us to love our enemies for this Psalm of David holds the key.
Enemies expect retaliation. They expect the same treatment they have given. As someone once told me, “I give as I get.”
Giving back the evil we have gotten only makes me “fall into the trap” of the evildoers. And so David asked God to keep him from becoming like those who did him wrong. David’s request was a plea to his Heavenly Father, “Don’t let me act like my enemy.”
However, there’s more, for when you and I don’t retaliate, we can stand back and as Deuteronomy 28:7 says, we can watch as, “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before your face.” The Hebrew calls the word “defeat,” – “to dissolve.”
Have you ever put granulated sugar into water? At first you can see the sediment separate from the water. After stirring however, the solution eventually becomes clear. The sugar dissolves and you would never have any idea it was in the water.
This is what God promises to you and me if we will love our enemies – hatred will dissolve. Enmity will disappear.
You may be asking, “How far do we take this ‘love your enemy’ statement?”
The answer to this question is found on a dark Friday afternoon on a hill called Golgotha when the Son of God, lying on a rough-hewn cross of wood prayed: “Father, forgive them,” as Roman soldiers pounded iron nails through the flesh of hands which had only been used to lift a child onto his lap or heal the rotted skin of a leper or wash the feet of a disciple who had betrayed Him.
I want to share these loving words of St. Anselem: “O blessed Lord, who hast commanded us to love one another, grant us grace that having received Thine undeserved bounty, we may love everyone in Thee and for Thee; O Thou fountain of love, may we love Thee with all our hearts.”
“In Jesus and for Him, enemies and friends alike are to be loved.”
Thomas á Kempis
“Put love into our hearts, Lord Jesus – love for you; love for those around us; love for those we find it hard to like.”
From Talking to God
“Happy is he who loves you and loves his friend in you and loves his enemy in your name! It is surely he alone who never loses a dear one because all are dear to him through him who is never lost, through our God; God who created heaven and earth fills them with his presence, just as he created them by filling them with himself.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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