Love Your EnemiesBack to Today's Devotional
On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Jesus lived a radical life of love and forgiveness. He calls us to the same.
Jesus hung out with sinners and outcasts. He noticed the people along the fringe of society, stopping to talk, ask questions, and heal them. He dined with scoundrels. He even welcomed children and spoke to women as if they were people, not property (as they were viewed at the time). His entire earthly journey was marked by a great love for the humanity He came to reconcile to the Father.
Christ taught us to resist taking revenge and to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).
Our Lord went on to say:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45)
This call to radical living is only possible by the enablement of the Holy Spirit. It is His fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—abounding in us that makes this love possible. Out of the overflow, we extend grace and forgiveness to others.
As we forgive and minister to our enemies, we shine a bright light in the darkness of this broken world. As we give our enemies something to eat and drink, we tangibly model the forgiveness and kindness of Christ. They can taste and see that the Lord is good in a way that stands in sharp contrast to a hate-filled world.
As children of God, we must love as Christ loved us. We must forgive as we have been forgiven. As we have received God’s abundant grace, we desire to extend His grace to others. We must remember that grace is “unmerited favor.” None of us deserved it; we are all sinners saved by grace. All have fallen short of the glory of God.
In extending such hospitality to our enemies, we are not saying past wrong-doings are excused. God will hold us all accountable. What we are conveying through our words and actions is that we forgive and love despite sins and wrong-doings. And in doing so, we love like Jesus loves us.
Questions for reflection and discussion: To whom do you need to extend grace? How can you tangibly share the love of Jesus to them?
This week’s devotions were written by Patti Selvey. Patti is on staff at Wheaton Bible Church connecting people into community through Rooted, Life Groups, and serving opportunities. Patti has a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation & Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary. Her writing has appeared on several websites and blogs.