Week Four Practice
Love Your Enemies
IDENTIFY, PRAY, BLESS
To those who are listening, Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” (Luke 6:27-35)
This is one of Jesus’ most radical teachings, instructing us to love not only our friends and neighbors, but our enemies. How often do we actually do this? It is not easy in a world that promotes the exact opposite. Not only that, but many of us have trouble truly naming the reality that we even have enemies! We think or feel that we are living without enemies, in a general place of “peace.”
But as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Peace is not merely the absence of some negative force—war, tensions, confusion, but it is the presence of some positive force—justice, goodwill, the power of the kingdom of God.”
In other words, blessed are the peacemakers, not simply the peacekeepers. To truly live in peace, we must begin by identifying our enemies and praying for them, and then take action toward loving them.
HOW TO PRACTICE LOVING OUR ENEMIES
Identify, Pray, Bless
Make a list of people you might consider to be your enemies, including people you find difficult to love, people who have demonstrated hostility or prejudice towards you personally, or public figures and groups that have expressed disdain or opposition toward people like you.
Make a commitment to pray for the people on your list each day this week. For each person on your list, create a short written prayer of blessing. Here’s an example: “Lord, please bless (name of enemy), may they experience your presence, comfort, and guidance today. Bless them and help me see how I might be a part of that blessing for them.”
Choose one person from your list that you can show kindness to this week and commit to a tangible act of love. For example: send them a small gift, write them a note of affirmation, share a meal together, provide help in some way.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” (Romans 12:20)