Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” is both clear and radical. One challenge we face is identifying who is our enemy. When we use the term “enemy,” we tend to think of sides in a military conflict. A better understanding of Jesus’ use of “enemy” would be anyone who injures or opposes us. This is often the people closest to us in homes and workplaces that sometimes feel more like a warzone.
An enemy is more than just an irritation. We get irked and annoyed when we get cut off on the freeway or the neighbor’s dog barks all night long. But when we start to harbor prejudice and hate in our hearts toward a person, that person becomes our “enemy.” It’s these people Jesus is commanding us to love: it may be your spouse, co-worker, neighbor, child, or parent. Consider who it is that causes you to brood. God wants you to love this person.
As you read the above descriptions, someone probably comes to mind. If not, ask God to prompt you toward anyone you might be harboring bitterness or contempt for. Take a few minutes today to confess to God the struggle you’ve been having in your heart toward this person. God wants you to love this person as he loves you. One way to start is by offering a prayer of blessing on this person’s behalf. Ask God to bless and provide for this person. If this person has truly wounded or opposed you, this will not be easy. Trust God for his help as you continue to bring your struggle before him.