What does it mean to “love your enemies”? Jesus was very specific about what this “love” entailed – he said PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES and wish blessings on them. He said if they’re hungry, feed them; if they’re cold, clothe them. He said to choose to forgive them. He was very clear on what he meant by “love”.
He also called these people our “enemies”.
Think about that.
You can pray for someone, wish blessings on them, choose to forgive them, feed and clothe them, and still mostly steer clear of them. The two positions (loving them and staying away from them) are not mutually exclusive.
You don’t hang out with your enemies. Why on Earth would you want to do something as stupid as that?
God gave us a brain and common sense for one reason and one reason only: To use them.
Loving your enemies does not mean hanging out with them or letting them walk all over you or dictate to you. Jesus never said to hang out with your enemies and let them walk all over you and dictate to you. They’re your enemies. Jesus said to love them, and then explained what he meant by “love”.
If you’re still confused by what “love your enemies” means, look at Jesus. What did he do? He had enemies aplenty, and the more he preached, the more enemies he had. He did not go where he was not welcome (i.e., enemy territory), but when he did, he didn’t mince his words or try to ingratiate himself. He called a spade a spade. Followers of Jesus should take their cue from Jesus.
Scripture is always very clear; it’s people who don’t read scripture and then try to preach it who make it unclear.
But what is the point of loving our enemies? What possible good does it do them? What possible good does it do us?
The truth of the matter is – we are to love our enemies for OUR sake, not for theirs. Our loving them (through prayer and blessings and forgiveness and not trash-talking them behind their back) aids our soul, not theirs. We unburden ourselves of sin when we choose to forgive. We bless ourselves when we bless others. Jesus famous cry to love our enemies was an instruction to us on how to heal spiritually and renew our spiritual healing every day through our free-will choice to forgive and bless. Only by forgiving and blessing are we filled with God’s holy spirit, as God’s spirit cannot and will not live in a place that harbors hate and unforgiveness.
Loving your enemies doesn’t mean you let your enemies constantly abuse you; loving your enemies means keeping your distance from them (THEY’RE YOUR ENEMIES, AFTER ALL –WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BE AROUND THEM????) while all the while praying blessings on them.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if your enemy is cold, clothe him: but otherwise, steer clear of him.
You love your enemies for your sake, not for theirs.
Again – YOU LOVE YOUR ENEMIES FOR YOUR SAKE, NOT FOR THEIRS.
That is how you stay holy (that is, filled with God’s spirit), and staying holy is how you get home.