In Matthew 5:43-48, we come to the last of the Old Testament passages that Jesus was seeking to explain to His disciples. He was explaining the original intent of passages that the disciples knew well. Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that the Commandments of God must change the heart and not just their external behavior. You remember that Jesus explained in verse 20 that the righteousness of the disciples must exceed the external righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. He taught them that unless this occurred they would not enter the kingdom. Therefore, it’s imperative that each of us understands what these commands mean, and how they apply to our lives.
Jesus said in verse 43 and following, “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” Why? “That you may be the sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
The true intent of all of God’s commands is to encourage you to love your neighbor.
What was the true intent of the law God gave? That, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But, does that mean you can hate your enemy? Jesus questioned the interpretation of the Pharisees that only required them to love their neighbor which they interpreted to mean that they could also then hate their enemy. Let me explain why they believed they could hate their enemies. If you read Leviticus 19:17-18, notice how often these verses uses the phrase your brother, your neighbor, or your people, which they believed implied you could then hate anyone other than your neighbor. “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD” (Lev. 19:17-18).
So the Pharisees reasoned, The Scriptures teach that I'm not to hate my brother in my heart. But, what happens if this person is my enemy? That gives me the right and justification for hating him, because he's not my brother or he’s not my neighbor. They used this passage and its terminology to affirm something that the Bible was not teaching – hate toward a person. How can you be sure that the Bible condemns hatred toward others? Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that we are to hate the wicked. God does say that we should hate evil. In Psalm 97:10 God commands, “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” God makes it absolutely clear we are to hate wickedness and evil, not hate the wicked. We are not to hate evil people; we are to hate evil itself. Do you see the difference? In Exodus 23:4-5, Moses commanded, “If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.” He didn't command that you should take your enemies ox or donkey. No. He declared that you must bring it back to the owner. Moses further commands, “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.” Clearly the Old Testament law taught them to help their enemy and do good. These were specific instruction concerning how you could do good to your enemy. In Deuteronomy 23:7 God commands, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land.” Old Testament law plainly taught that they were not to hate even an individual that had done evil to them. Remember, they were once slaves, mistreated, and held in bondage to the Egyptians.
In the New Testament Paul clearly explained what Jesus meant by loving your neighbor in the Sermon on the Mount. He explained in Romans 12:17-20, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Not just your brother. He went on to say, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.’ ” So God does not want us taking personal vengeance on our enemies. He is declaring, “I will take care of them.” You keep your heart in the right place. Then He says, “Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” So God's word is very clear. We are not to hate the wicked; we are to hate wickedness. We are not to hate the evil person, but we are to hate evil. We are to do good to others, even to those who do evil to us. Jesus taught this for a very simple reason. He wanted us to remove ourselves from personal revenge and to encourage forgiveness and mercy. In Luke 6:36 Jesus declared, “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” This is the way the Lord has treated you and me. He has been merciful and loved us. He reached out to us when we did evil and forgave us, even though we did much evil against Him. He wants us to respond in the very same way He has responded. He is saying, ‘I want to give you this kind of heart. I want you to do more than just keep yourself from revenge. I want you to do something that’s very positive and choose to love.’ When you take this kind of action you are fulfilling an inward righteousness that exceeds the external righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.
I have to also note here that just as in our last study when we looked at someone slapping you in the face or taking your coat, all of which were minor offenses, this same concept of minor offenses would be intended here too. It does not refer to someone who decides they want to kill you, or they want to kill your spouse or your children. In such cases you would not stand there and do nothing. There is a big difference between revenge and self-defense. You have to see that those two issues are completely different and spoken of differently in Scripture. If you don’t understand what I mean by this statement then I would refer you to our study on Matthew 5:38-42.
Why Must You Love Your Enemy?
I would like you to consider why Jesus wants us to love our enemy. You must understand God’s reasoning. Jesus stated the reason in verse 45, “That you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” If there is anything that shows that we are like our Father in heaven and like the Lord Jesus Christ, it's being conformed into the image of Christ, as we obey this command to love our enemy. This is an issue that I think is essential, because the Father loves even the wicked. He doesn't like what they are doing, but He still loves them. There is a great difference between the two. Many times people ask me, “Can I dislike someone, but still love them?” My response is, yes, absolutely. “That's the way God responds to people. He obviously does not like what people are doing, but He loves them. In John 3:16, the most well-known verse in Scripture, Jesus taught, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” It doesn't say that, “God so loved those who would love Him back.” God loved the entire world and sent His Son to pay the price to redeem the entire world, knowing that many would reject the gift that He offered. But, He still gave His Son.
Notice the example Jesus gave in this passage concerning how the Father loves and treats all men the same. In verse 45 He said, “He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and He sends the rain on the just and the unjust.” Some look at this statement and think, Well that's not a big deal, its common for the sun to shine and for it to rain. Why would He use this example? It shows God's common grace to all mankind. These are just two examples. There are many more. God's word shows common love and common grace, even to those who hate Him. Now could the Lord do something other than give non-Christians sunshine? Could He do something different and not send rain on the field of a non-Christian farmer? Yes, He could. How do I know He could do this? He's already done it. When? Scripture teaches in Exodus 10:22-23 concerning one of the plagues that came on Egypt that, “Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” So, God can withhold the light for those who are rejecting Him, and give light to those who love and believe in Him. He could do that if He chose to do it. But, He chooses to give the light of the sun to all mankind. How about rain? Remember when Elijah prayed during the reign of King Ahab, one of the most wicked kings of Israel, what happened? The rain stopped for 3 1/2 years. So He can withhold light, and He can bring drought. He can stop anything, anywhere, anytime He so chooses. Our God is that big! He chooses to send the rain and the sun upon the wicked and the just. This is common grace and mercy from God.
The second reason why you must love your enemy is because this reveals that you are doing more than the Pharisees. Jesus said in verses 46-47, “If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Notice that Jesus declared that even non-believers will love those who love them. In other words, anybody can do that. But, if you love your enemy, that is something above the normal and customary behavior of this world. It’s supernatural! Furthermore, this kind of loving behavior is what will gain you eternal reward. That's pretty powerful. An eternal reward! Why? To love your enemy is something that can only be done by a believer, by someone who has the love of God dwelling in them and the power of the Holy Spirit motivating them. Is this you?
In Luke 12:48 Jesus said, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” God justly expects more from every Christian that loves and believes in Him. Why? He expects more because He lives inside us. This is why Jesus goes on to say in verse 48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This is a verse that is very difficult to understand. People read this and think “Forget it, this is impossible.” But, if Jesus spoke this command I believe that it can be fulfilled, if you understand what He meant. It doesn't mean that you will be sinless or perfect. The Bible is clear that there is no sinless perfection in this life. However, I have met people who told me they were sinless. I usually laugh when people say this, because I know they have the same kind of heart you and I have. There is no one on this planet that ever will become sinless in this life. But, that's not what Jesus meant. The Greek word for perfect that Jesus used means to be complete, mature, or of full age. It describes someone who is mature or of full age as an adult. Jesus is talking about someone being mature as a Christian, and being one who can love their enemy. Therefore, the Lord expects us to become mature in dealing with people who hate us, who are our enemies, who want to use us and persecute us. You must become fully mature in the way you deal with people like this.
Now this issue is essential to understand. Let me explain it this way. Those of you that have children, do you expect something different from your teenager than you do of your toddler? Of course you do. You don't expect your toddler to act like a teenager. Do you expect any difference in your adult children than what you would expect from your teenagers? Of course you would. Why? You expect them to act like mature adults. If you have that expectation with your biological children, why shouldn’t God expect the same of His spiritual children? Jesus is saying, be mature! If you are a mature Christian, then you need to act like one. How will you live if you are mature? Love is what it means to be mature.
In Job1:1, it declares that Job was a blameless or perfect man depending on your translation. God declared, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, he was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.” The Hebrew word translated blameless means to be perfect or complete. Here is God's definition of what it means to be perfect or a complete man. Was he sinless? No. The Lord reproved Job for his foolish talking at the end of the book. So, he was not sinless, that's for sure, but he was a mature man. Why? Because he hated and shunned evil, he turned away from evil, and he walked in an upright way. He did that because he feared and respected the Lord. That's why he turned from evil. So he was a mature man, not a sinless man. Here the Scripture defines what maturity looks like.
In addition, as you walk in love, one day you will be fully complete, and you will be fully mature and you will come to full spiritual adulthood. We know this because in 1 John 3:2 it declares, “Now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” We will be completely and fully like Him. This is where we are all headed. I believe that if you see and believe this truth, you will say, “Okay, Lord, change me. Transform me. I want to become a mature Christian.”
Also, the tenses of the verbs in Matthew 5:48 are very important. When Jesus said, “Therefore you shall be perfect.” This is in the future tense. This means one day we will be completely mature and fully conformed into His image. When Jesus said, “Just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” The words “is perfect” in relation to the Father are in the present tense. Why did Jesus use these two different tenses? He knows that we are imperfect and He knows that we are going to fail. But, He also knows what you shall be in the future. One day you will be perfectly mature. He used the future tense because He knows it is a process to become mature. The Father is continuously perfect and loving. Therefore, in the future, as He works in your life, you will become like Him. This is why understanding this passage is so essential.
Now, one last definition of what it means to love your enemies. Jesus explained this over and over during His ministry. You must remember this explanation because as you look at how you can love your enemy, you need this understanding. In Luke 6:35-37 Jesus taught, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be the son of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Jesus does not just give you these commands, but He explains why you should obey them. The reason is simple; He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. So you should be kind to people. He is merciful, so you should also be merciful. He doesn’t immediately judge people. He gives people the chance of turn to Him, so you should not be harsh and quick to condemn others. You should forgive, because He has forgiven you. These are the reasons why you should love your enemies.
How can you actually love your enemy?
Let’s consider how you can love your enemy. Is this even possible? Now, I've had people say to me, Love your enemy? That's where I get off this train. I don't think this is really even possible. I can see the other things that Jesus taught, but this love your enemy stuff, I don't know! So is it possible? What do you think? I believe that it is possible. Only you who have experienced this transformation in your heart know what I mean. It isn’t easy when you have hated someone, been resentful, been so angry you want to strangle them, to just switch these emotions off and just decide to forgive. When people have offended and hurt you deeply it requires a work of God in your heart. Only the person who has sensed that change from hate to sorrow, from hatred to love, knows that this is possible. There is probably no other commandment given by Jesus that seems more impossible than to love your enemy. However, there is no other command in Scripture that has more revealed the power and the grace of God to change a human heart than this one. When you experience this empowering to love your enemy you will be assured that you know the Lord. You will be absolutely positive you know the living God, because you know you could not have done this in your own strength. Have you ever tried to love somebody in your own strength? Have you ever tried to forgive your enemy in your own strength? It is not going to happen! You cannot do it!
So, how do you do it? Let me give you seven things that I think are essential to learning how to love your enemy. This is where the Lord wants to take every single one of us. How do you do it?
First, you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the bottom line. This is where it all begins. In verse 44, the word love, in the command to love your enemies, is the Greek word agape. Agape love is the love with which God loves the world as Jesus stated in John 3:16. So, if I'm going to agape my enemy, I must have the same love that God has. There are four basic words for love in the Greek language, and yet you will find only three of them in the Scripture. There is God's love which is the word agape. God can agape even when the world does not respond. The second kind of love is, phileo, which is a love for the brethren. This love is a reciprocal kind of love. We say to people, you scratch my back and I will scratch your back. The third kind of love is called storgos which is a love for family. The fourth kind of love is the word eros which is not used in Scripture, yet is implied in the Song of Solomon. Eros love is a sexual love.
So, Jesus is commanding that we agape our enemies, which is one-way kind of love. That means it doesn't require anything in return. Jesus is saying that you must love without expecting anything in response. How can this happen? The Bible teaches in Galatians 5:22, that this agape kind of love is the result and fruit of the Spirit filling you. The Holy Spirit is the only person who can produce this kind of supernatural love inside you. You can’t work it up inside yourself. You need to be filled with the Spirit. When you have someone in your life that you hate, someone who's offended you, someone who has persecuted you, someone that has lied about you, someone that has ripped you off, this is how you begin. You must cry out to God for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to give you His love for that individual. Confess to Him, “Lord I don’t have what it takes to love this person. Give me Your love.” Paul declared in Romans 8:2, “For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” There is only one way to be set free from the sin of hatred and revenge. It is the Holy Spirit. But, you have to admit to God that you want revenge. Only the Holy Spirit can set you free from hatred and the desire for revenge. When you sincerely cry out, He will change your attitude. All of a sudden you will realize that the hatred is gone. It's a powerful thing to experience. It’s supernatural. If you have experienced what I’m talking about then you know it is possible. Sometimes it is a quick change, and other times you have to persevere to continue to love. Many times, depending on the severity of the offense against you, you have to fight the good fight of faith and fight in prayer asking for His love every day.
Now for those of you that think, I want to hate. I don't want to love them. I don't really want to change. Well, the rest of this study is for you, because I know that some of you are in that place right now. Your hearts are hard. You have nursed bitterness a long time and you are not yet willing to just say, “God give me Your love.” You just don't want to let them off the hook. So, here is how you change that sentiment.
Second, to love like this you must choose to forgive. You must let it go. Be obedient to God’s command to forgive. Choose to obey the command apart from considering how you feel. To be perfectly honest, I have never felt like forgiving anyone. Not one time. And neither have you. You must choose to obey God's command to forgive before you ever feel anything. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a choice. God's command is stated by Jesus in Mark 11:25-26. He said, “Whenever you stand praying,” note He says, “Whenever” not if ever, because Jesus knew this would be a common occurrence. When you come to prayer you're going to realize that you have unforgiveness in your heart toward someone. This is why He says, “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven , forgive you your trespasses.” Jesus made it very clear; forgiveness deals with anything against anyone. That includes everyone and anything that causes you to sin. That means that there is not one thing that you have ever done that He doesn't want to forgive, and therefore, there is not one thing He doesn’t want you to forgive either. There's not one thing or one person that has offended you that He doesn't want you to forgive. Now, that doesn't mean that you will reconcile with every person, but you will forgive them and your heart will be right with God. That's an important distinction. Forgiveness before God is what allows your heart to get right, because you have chosen to forgive as He has forgiven you. If you don't forgive, you will never go forward and mature as a believer. You will be stuck! It won't happen because you are resisting a clear and direct command of Christ.
The third thing you must do once you have forgiven, is to control your thought life, or you will return to bitterness, and thus it will defile you all over again. Here is where you will need to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim.6:12). This is how it works. You choose to forgive and then you start thinking about that person’s offense against you. You replay the audio and video in your head and all of a sudden you are angry all over again. Right? Haven’t you done this many times? Then you go right back to seething in your bitterness again. People ask me all the time, “Why can't I seem to let this go?” I explain this point that they must control their thought life. Don't go back to the offense in your head. Every single time you go there in your mind, you must stop and tell yourself, “I'm not going there. I choose to forgive Lord. I choose to commit them into Your hands.” Philippians explains what you should be thinking in your mind. In Philippian 4:8-9, Paul taught, “Whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things… and the God of peace with be with you.” Therefore, you must choose to think about these things, instead of the offense. If you do not, you will go right back to becoming bitter. That bitterness will defile you and bring you right back to the same place you were. In Hebrews 12:14-15, the apostle declared, “Pursue peace with all people and holiness,” Not just the people you love, but all people, “without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up and cause trouble, and by this many become defiled .” If you allow bitterness back into your heart you will fall short of the grace of God. Why? If you allow sinful thoughts to rule in your heart that is a rejection of His grace that wants to change your heart. Bitterness will also defile you again if go and talk to other people about what that person did to you. That's gossip and sin, and it defiles you and the entire body of Christ. So, you need to deal with it in your heart. Forgive and control your thought life.
Fourth, ask God for a sorrow and compassion in your heart toward the one who has offended you. Sorrow and grieving of heart toward the offender is vital to be sure that your heart is right. It reveals that you love your enemy. You have sorrow because you realize that this person does not know what they have done. They are blind. This sorrow comes from understanding that they are caught by their own sin, and that's why they hurt you. When you realize this fact it will enable your change of heart. This truth is seen as Jesus grieved in His heart over the blindness of the Pharisees. In Mark 3:1-5 it records that the Pharisees watched Jesus to see if He would heal a man with a withered hand. Mark said of Jesus, “So when He looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts.” Notice the combination of anger and His grief at their attitude. Jesus had anger in his heart, a divine anger, and it was coupled with a grieving for these men. This word grieved means to have sorrow. So, Jesus was angry and sorrowful at the same time. Why? He knew how hardhearted they were. He could see their total lack of spiritual life. This was evident to Him by how uncaring they were toward this needy man. They were spiritual leaders, but because of their self-righteous works-based religion they were missing the whole purpose of their ministry to care for those in need. So grieving is essential. It is the result of seeing the true problem. Do you have this grief for those who have offended and hurt you?
But, the Pharisees were also hardhearted because of their blindness. This is the same reason that caused these religious leaders to crucify Jesus. Remember, Jesus said from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). This is also why people will hurt and offend you. They have no real understanding of what they are doing because of the blindness of their heart. Therefore, this attitude of sorrow and grieving keeps you from self-righteousness and a condemning attitude towards others. Ask God for this heart.
Fifth, if you want to demonstrate love toward your enemies, you must speak kindly to those who offended you. This is what Jesus meant in verse 44 when He said, “Bless those who curse you.” This word bless literally means to speak kindly. Is that really possible? Absolutely! Did Jesus speak kindly to those that were offensive towards Him and those who wanted to kill Him? Yes He did. But He also reproved them. Remember the man that slapped Him on the face at his trial? He reproved that action, but he wasn’t yelling at him. So, you can speak kindly and also be very direct in reproof of evil. You can do this! Jesus spoke this way while despising what the people did to Him, because He loved them and realized they were blind to what they were doing. Can you see the difference between screaming at someone and speaking directly and kindly? You can despise what someone does and yet still speak in a loving yet firm way.
In 1 Peter 3:8-9, Peter understood this teaching of Jesus to bless with his mouth. Peter taught, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted,” instead of being hard-hearted, “be courteous.” You can be courteous to an enemy, “Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing,” Here is that same word from Matthew 5:44 which means to speak kindly to them, “knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” So, by loving your enemies, speaking kindly, and not reviling them as they have reviled you, there will be a blessing in it for you today. In addition, there is also an eternal reward for doing so.
The sixth thing you must do if you want to love your enemies is pray for them. Jesus said, “Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Prayer is another critical aspect of learning how to love your enemies, because I have found you cannot pray for someone sincerely and still continue to hate them at the same time. You can't do it. If you insincerely pray for your enemies, your own heart will condemn you. You know the words you are speaking are phony, because there is not a real sorrow for them. You hate them. This is why Jesus commanded you to pray for your enemies. Prayer is essential. Jesus knew prayer would show you that your heart is wrong. That is why He told you to do it. He's got you between a rock and a hard place. There's no way out but to forgive and get your heart right. If you don't pray for them, you are disobeying God’s command. So, you need to pray, and pray sincerely. Remember again, this is what Jesus did from the cross. I just quoted this verse to you in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them.” You should pray that very same prayer, and pray and ask God to change their hearts and transform them. Pray that He opens their eyes so they can see that they are caught by their own sin. Remember what Stephen prayed while they stoned him to death in Acts 7:60 “Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.'” If you are ever in this circumstance, may God give you the ability and the grace to be able to pray this way too.
The seventh thing you must do if you want to love your enemies is, “Do good to those who hate you.” I left this one for the end. I know it is out of order in the context, but I held this until the end for a reason. Why? Obeying all these commands to pray, speak kindly, forgive and not allow hateful thoughts to return is all internal. However, to do good, that's another issue. That's a whole different subject when you have to do something that is really the capstone to complete the work inside. So what does it mean to do good? To do good will be different for every single circumstance. You know what you should do but in your mind you think, “I don't want to do it.” James said, “To him that knows to do good, and does not do it, it is sin” (James 4:17). James is giving this blanket statement and understanding of what it means to do good. Let me show you another verse. In Isaiah 1:17, notice it says, “Learn to do good.” Then notice how God defines good. God said, “Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Each of these behaviors is completely different from the others. Therefore, in every different circumstance doing good will mean a different thing. Therefore, depending on the circumstances that you are in and what has taken place that is offensive, you will have to learn how to do good. Doing good in one circumstance is to have the right attitude of heart. Doing good for another person means that you go and ask forgiveness for your fault in the matter. Doing good can also mean that you start praying for that person who offended you. Doing good may mean speaking kindly to them. Doing good may mean giving something you don’t want to give. Doing good may mean passing over the transgression that has been done against you (Prov. 19:11). Do you see my point? Doing good will be different in every circumstance.
Now think about how God has done good to you. Those of you who have surrendered your lives to Christ, you used to be His enemy. But, He loved you, His enemy. Now you are His friend because you have surrendered your life to Him. You received Christ by faith and allowed Him to take over your life. Why? Because of what He did for you. Why did He forgive you? He was doing good to you. He began to do you good by sending Christ and allowing Him to pay the price for your sin. He did good to you by not bringing judgment down on you immediately when you sinned. He did good to you by many different ways throughout your life. Do you see it? Therefore, ask the Lord to show you how this applies to you and how He wants you to deal with that enemy that you have. The Lord will show you how to do good.
Let's go to Him in prayer. Father, I thank You so much that You are merciful. I have fought against You for so long, but you patiently waited and pursued me. Thank You Lord that You sent your Son to die in my place that I might experience Your grace and mercy. I pray that you would help me to love the one who has hurt me and has offended me so deeply. I pray that you would set me free from the power of my resentment, bitterness, and hatred. Set me free by the power of your Spirit. Give me that willingness to truly want to do what you have commanded. Lord, I believe You to do as I have asked now. Change my heart. Make me a man or woman that truly is an example of what it means to be a child of my Father in heaven. I believe you to do this for Jesus sake and in His name I pray. If you have never committed your life to Christ, or you are not sure if you truly are a Christian, I want to give you an opportunity to be forgiven and to experience the mercy of God. God will bestow His mercy on you right now if you will ask for His forgiveness and invite Him to take over your life. He will cleanse your heart, if you will acknowledge your sin and be willing to turn from your sinful lifestyle to follow Him. If you want to receive Him right now, I would suggest praying and say, “Lord, forgive me. I acknowledge my sin. I have broken your law. Forgive me. Jesus, come in and take over my life. I receive you by faith right now. I want to be your disciple. If you just prayed this prayer, confess your faith to someone today. Send me an email at