How many of you all have enemies? The truth is, there are people who hurt us, and wound us and misinterpret us and who think the least of us. On earth, in a sense, they are our enemies, but the truth is, you only have one enemy. As a born again believer, you see that that person is not your enemy, but that the enemy is your enemy. When your heart is so filled with Jesus, you are free to love and to pray for your enemies because you see the issues differently. You see the issues bigger because your heart is filled with the Kingdom of God, not the smallness of earth’s hate and justice.
It is such an amazing experience, instead of hating your enemies and longing for them to fail, to grace them in ways that make no sense and to pray for God’s best for them. When you begin to do that, it’s like the chains just fall off of you and the power that these people hold onto your life and your attention and your need for their approval, it just all evaporates!
In Matthew 5:43- 47 Jesus says, “You have heard the law that says, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?"
So you ask, Pastor Drew, can we really do this? Do I believe that you can really love your enemies? Not out of your heart, but out of the heart of Jesus, YES! Because God did that for us while we were still his enemies.
We are called to be different from everyone else. We are the son’s and daughters of God. Our hearts are captivated by the grace of God and out of the overflow of that grace; we are free! The real decision we are making here is which is bigger? The woundedness that we have received, the power of somebody’s hate, or the God of the universe? When we love in ways that make no sense, we get the opportunity to wake somebody up to see Jesus and in seeing Jesus, they might accept Him!
Just as Abraham Lincoln was criticized by one of his cabinet secretaries saying “shouldn’t we destroy our enemies?” But Lincoln, proposing what would happen after the war said, “If we make them our friends, have we not destroyed our enemies?” So it is with the love of God. I want to challenge you to live the words of Jesus in a real world way that gives other people the chance to see a real world Jesus. If you are kind to only your friends, how are you different from anyone else? -Dr. Drew Shofner