Jesus tells his followers to love their enemies, and as born-again followers of Jesus, we do what he tells us to do: We love our enemies.
We pray for them, bless them, and do good to them, regardless of what they do to us.
But in loving our enemies, we must also stay aware that they are our enemies. They are not our friends. Enemies can’t and shouldn’t be trusted. Enemies can’t and shouldn’t be entrusted with anything of value. They are enemies.
Yes, we can spend time with them and interact with them, showing them love, but all the while we should still remain aware that they are our enemies. We need constantly to be on our guard.
If, on the other hand, our enemies turn and become followers of Jesus, as witnessed by genuine spiritual rebirth, then they’ve become our friends. We were once enemies of Jesus, but when we were born-again, we became his friends. We need to extend the same friendship to our enemies who turn. We need to test them first to see if they are genuinely turned (as Paul was tested by the disciples), but if we find them to be so, then we need to embrace them as friends the way Jesus has embraced us. No ifs, ands, or buts.
At the same time, don’t be fooled. Many people claim to turn to Jesus, only to be found later to have turned to something other than Jesus, some other Jesus-like gospel that is not Jesus. Most of these people take on leadership positions in the worldly denominational church. They are the gatekeepers Jesus describes as not entering the Kingdom and preventing others from entering, as fishing for converts only to make them more fit for hell than they are themselves. During the time of Jesus’ ministry, the leadership of the synagogues and temple was like this. Today, the leadership of all denominational churches is like this. No exceptions.
When you’re a born-again believer, your enemies – both seen and unseen – are all around you all the time. Your friends – both seen and unseen – are also all around you, and they’re closer to you than your enemies, even if they’re physically far away, and even if you don’t know who they are. They form a spiritual force field around you that cannot be breached. Think of David (when he was on the run from Saul) and his band of outcasts who protected him with their lives. In this case, we are all David while at the same time being all his outcasts. We are both David and those who protected him. However, unlike David and his men, we don’t use physical weapons to protect each other; we use spiritual ones. We pray for each other, just as we pray for our enemies. Our prayers contribute to our protection, because our prayers give God permission to intervene supernaturally over and above what he would normally do.
The more we pray and bless others, whether friend or foe, the more we receive prayers and are blessed in return. It’s a beautiful thing. Never be swayed by those who try to get you to hate anyone for any reason, or you will lose your blessings. We love and bless and pray for our enemies, we love and bless and pray for our friends. This is how we aim to be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect, as Jesus advised us to be. Don’t let anyone persuade you to be otherwise.