No matter who you are, everyone has people who come against them, create conflict or do things to set themselves up as enemies. We can all admit these kinds of conflicts arise in our life regularly, but we need to have the mind of God when it comes to how to deal with them.
Here are four biblical things you need to know about “your enemies.”
1. Your Enemies Are People Who Hate and Curse You
But I say to you who hear:Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you…(Luke 6:27–28)
Enemies will rise up and release hate, either through withdrawing love towards you or by intense animosity. They can even manifest a detest of you. I find this very common in the social media world. Without any intimate knowledge of who you are, rocks can begin flying immediately when the name of Jesus is attached to your beliefs.
Jesus told us, “Go ahead and love those people. The worse they get, the more gracious and loving you become.”
2. Your enemies will persecute you for following Christ.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11–12)
Modern Christianity can often make a mistake of trying to hard to get people to like us. We can work overtime in an unhealthy way to get approval or a likability.
Jesus told us to love. Loving someone is a whole lot different than trying to get someone to like you. One releases the power of God, the other depends on someone’s approval or affirmation for power.Loving someone is a whole lot different than trying to get someone to like you. Click To Tweet
We have to understand that they hated Jesus, so therefore we will have hate released to us, no matter how kind we act. This gives no license to life as a victims; acting like everyone is against us. There is a real martyr, but many act like false-martyrs. “Woe is me. The world against me cause I’m a Christian.” Stop it.
Lets stop and think about this for a second. Many times we get upset at a world system that opposes us, when in reality, Jesus called it. He said this would happen, so don’t take it personal. They hated our Lord–they will hate you too. You don’t have to live as a victim about it. Just return good for evil. The haters don’t just hate you, they hate the One who lives inside you.The haters don't just hate you, they hate the One who lives inside you. Click To Tweet
Most Americans expecially are not prepared for hostility against their faith. We have lived in a country that honors the Word of God and Christian values. This is rapidly changing. So instead of picketing, debating politics and trying to argue with people of differing opinions, why don’t we rejoice when persecutiion comes, knowing that we get the chance to let the glory of God shine through us. Can we demonstrate His love and grace in that kind of opposition?
3. Your enemies will use you or exploit you selfishly.
Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)
This is not saying we should live every day as a doormat. I believe that Jesus is pointing to two things:
Number 1, I think humans hate being taken advantage of. We do everything we can to try and self protect, using our various relational walls–all to keep anyone from hurting us or taking advantage of us. Jesus is helping us to let that go. “So what if someone took advantage of you. Bless them, rather than try to get even.” Plus, you don’t need to carry that baggage.Why not bless that person who took advantage of you. You don't need the baggage. Click To Tweet
Secondly, Jesus is helping us to respond differently than we have been trained. Instead of using energy to get even with our enemies or litigate our way into recompense, why don’t we learn to pray for them? Could it be so many people are so drained, because they used so much energy fussing with enemies, when really they should use that energy to release them, bless them and pray for them?Instead of using energy to get even with our enemies why don’t we learn to pray for them? Click To Tweet
4. Your “enemies” are not your enemy.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood… Ephesians 6:12
This last one may surprise you, because I spent all of this writing talking about human beings that come against you. Yet there will be little long term spiritual fruit if you don’t realize that no human being is ever your enemy. Is the Bible contradicting itself? No. God’s Word is teaching us how to deal with people who come against us, but Ephesians 6 is showing us how we should SEE any person that would set themselves up as an enemy.
Its not the person that is your enemy, it is satan’s kingdom operating through them that is your enemy.No person is every really your enemy. Click To Tweet
When we see this picture, we can realize that most of the time, people are simply puppets on strings; listening to wicked thoughts from the enemy and then acting on them.
This is why Jesus said, “Father forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” He was helping us to see that the thoughts those soldiers had were not their own, but from a demonic source. If they had known where those thoughts had come from, they probably would not have acted on them and crucified our Lord. Yet Jesus forgave them because He saw them with spiritual eyes.Jesus forgave because He saw people with spiritual eyes. Click To Tweet
So how about you? When people come against you, do you see them with spiritual eyes or do you get lost in the physical, person to person battle that is being presented? Seeing with spiritual eyes shows that its just the enemy working through people when all this relational garbage arises. This gives us a position to have more graciousness towards the person and a greater perspective to release love towards them.