So on Sunday morning I preached on loving your enemies. By Sunday afternoon I was yelling at the guy who was being a jerk in the parking lot. I guess I need to go back and listen to my own message.
Jesus didn’t say loving your enemies would be easy. But he did say that if we love them we would be acting as his children. He said, “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High.” (Luke 6:35)
So how do we do it? When the heat turns up, how do we choose between the mean person inside who wants to rip their heads off and the Jesus inside that wants to give them a hug and love them just as they are?
Here are two simple practices that will help you love your enemies:
Pray for the right attitude! In heated or awkward situations I often take a deep breath and say a quick prayer in my heart asking God to give me patience and wisdom. I find that more often than not this simple practice helps me to control my emotions and feelings and allows me to be sensitive to what God would have me to do. Prayer puts me in the right focus for every situation.
Take the position of a servant! You know many of the people problems we have stem from our own ego. We often take the position of “It’s my way or the highway.” But that’s not the way Jesus tells us to respond. He wants us to “do good to them.” If you really want a lesson in friendship go out of your way to do something good for someone who you consider un-friend-able. It will change your life!
The one thing we should remember when applying these practices to our lives is that we were once enemies of God. But he chose to be our friend by taking the form of a servant and coming to earth to die for us so that we could be counted as his friend. Jesus is our greatest example!