The Commands of Jesus—Part 3: How to Love Our Enemies

Continuing our examination into the “authoritative orders”—or imperatives/teachings—we look at scriptures that teach us how to love our enemies. You can review the scriptures on How to Love God in Part 1 and How to Love Our Neighbors in Part 2.

Remember, Jesus said that all the Law and the Prophets “hang on” the commands to “Love God” and to “Love our neighbor.” The purpose of this blog series is to show that everything Jesus commanded seems to specifically define the behaviors or attitudes that do or do not love him, God or our neighbor.

We encourage you to spend a season of time listening to, meditating upon and even memorizing many of his commands. Here are scriptures that teach us one of the most difficult things to do as disciples of Jesus—how to love our enemies:

1. Luke 6:27-30, 35-36: (27) “Love your enemies, (also v. 35)
a. (27) Do good to those who hate you, (also v. 35)
b. (28) bless those who curse you,
c. (28) Pray for those who mistreat you.
d. (29) If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other
e. (29) If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
f. (30) Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back;
g. (35-36) lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

2. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.” (Matthew 5:38) . . . “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (vs. 41-42) . . . “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (vs. 48)

3. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.” (Matthew 5:23-25)

4. “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (Matthew 18:15)

5. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:3-5; see also Mark 11:25)

“Peace and love always live in us, being and working, but we do not always live in peace and love; so God wants us to pay attention to this: He is the foundation of our whole life in love, and moreover He watches over us for ever and is a powerful defense against our enemies, who attack us fiercely and furiously; and our need is the greater because we give them the opportunity when we fall.” (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of the Divine)