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How to Love Your Enemies When You Don’t Know How

How to Love Your Enemies When You Don’t Know How

Sometimes, no matter what we do, we can’t reconcile a relationship. This can feel so heart wrenching, but if we don’t accept this truth, how can we love ourselves well?

We still want to obey God and love them as he asks. You can learn how to love your enemies from the Bible. You don’t have to put yourself in an unsafe situation to love someone. You can have boundaries too and still honor this command of God. God loves you and wants you safe.

Who Is Your Enemy?

An enemy is someone who wants to hurt you. They may try to hurt you physically or emotionally. They don’t want the best for you. 

Having someone in your life like this is so devastating to stomach. It feels so hard and wrong on so many levels… but God is your protector. Never forget that. 

You don’t have to fear. You are seen and known by him and he doesn’t want anything bad to happen to you. 

“The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8, NIV)

Psalm 121:7-8

Who Is Your Enemy According to the Bible

Your enemy according to the Bible is the devil, Satan, and you need to be on guard from him. 

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV) 

The battle is real and he is always out to get you. He always wants to harm you—to take you away from God and the good plans he has for you. He is always looking to steal from you. 

God wants you to love people and not hate them, because they are not your real enemy. We are all flawed and imperfect. We are all capable of hurting each other. Even though it’s so hard, you can choose to walk the way God has called you to: to love your enemy. And it’s possible to do that from a safe distance. What matters is your heart toward them. 

Give it all to the Lord—the hurt and bad feelings. One of the gifts we receive from Jesus is the ability to be able to let go of these types of feelings and to be able to forgive, knowing he will take care of it and make things right one day. Remember who your real enemy is, Satan, and that everyone is imperfect. God loves everyone and you should too.

Why It It Hard to Love Your Enemies

There are so many reasons why it is hard to love your enemies. But you have to put them aside (for your good) and give them to God so that you can “love thy enemy” as God calls you to. 

You are flawed also, and have hurt others intentionally or not; you need to remember this and show compassion to others as God shows it to you. God sees past all your flaws and only sees you as someone to love. You should have this perspective on other people too, so you can love your enemies. 

You need to recognize the reasons you are struggling to love your enemies and replace them with truth, to walk as God requires. Here are some examples of reasons with corresponding truths.

Reason Truth
They don’t deserve love John 3:16
You are better than them Philippians 2:3
You can’t let go of what they did to you            Ephesians 4:31

Hate the devil and love thy enemy. 

How to Deal With Your Enemies According to the Bible

God’s word shows you how to deal with your enemies—he calls you to radically love them.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” (Matthew 5:38-40, NIV) 

You can be so loving to them, despite how they treated you, that they are taken aback and don’t understand. This shows them Jesus.  

How to Love Your Enemies

Maybe you desperately want to love someone who hurt you, but you don’t know how or it just feels so hard. You can do it. Surrender them and what they did to you to God. He will show you what boundaries to put up and how to love them. 

This will allow you to love yourself and then love them. Below are 4 love your enemies examples that I hope are helpful to you. You will be able to do them when your heart wants what Jesus wants: to love people. 

Have God’s perspective on loving people. Jesus radically loved Judas, who many of us would consider his enemy. Yet Jesus didn’t see him that way. He saw him as someone who he loved, not just what he did.

Pray for Your Enemies

You can love your enemy by praying for them as Jesus instructs. 

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44, NIV) 

You can pray for their hearts, for them to know Jesus if they don’t, for them to change, etc. Prayer changes things and is powerful. It is an amazing way to love your enemy. Love your enemies and pray for them.

Matthew 5:44

Forgive Your Enemies

You can love your enemy by forgiving them as Jesus has done for you. 

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32, NIV) 

This means fully letting go of what they did to you. It’s loving yourself also, because unforgiveness in your heart is toxic. It makes you angry inside, bitter, resentful and makes you hold on to hatred. Love your enemy by forgiving them.

Want the Best for Your Enemies

Even though someone hurt you, you can choose to wish them well. 

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14, NIV) 

This is loving your enemy. Wishing that something bad would happen to someone who hurt you doesn’t change what they did to you. It just continues to allow the enemy to use the situation to steal from you and keep you from loving as God demands. Choose to want the best for your enemies.

Don’t Seek Revenge 

Sometimes, when someone hurts you badly, you want them to experience hurt too. But God doesn’t call you to seek revenge. This isn’t loving your enemy. Instead, you are to love them by blessing them… and you will be blessed back.

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9, NIV) 

Give your angry feelings to Jesus and let him handle it all, so you can bless them. He is the judge of the bad  things people do—we need not take matters into our own hands. We need to let him deal with it and just choose to love as he calls us to. It is the best for us. Seeking revenge never leads to good. 

It’s not always possible to mend relationships. But we can follow God’s command to always love our enemies. How to love your enemies includes praying for them, forgiving them, wanting the best for them, and not seeking revenge. How will you choose to love your enemies today?

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Nikki Evanson

Hi, I'm Nikki

My goal is to help and equip Christians like you to live for Jesus by following Matthew 22:37-39: to love God and love people, and within this we need to learn how to love ourselves as God does.

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