Matthew 5:44 - Loving Your Enemies. [addendum]

Matthew 5:44 - Loving Your Enemies.  [addendum]

Matthew 5:44 (NIV) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray 
for those who persecute you, 

  There are times when others will misunderstand, mistreat, or 
persecute us, and it's hard not to respond to such treatment by 
retaliating or rejecting those who act that way toward us. That would be the 
way the unredeemed world naturally reacts. But Jesus says in these 
verses that we are to offer a radically different response: we are to 
love and pray for our enemies; in other words, we are to respond with 
the energy of prayer instead of the energy of hate. 
  This approach upholds a basic foundation of our faith - that 
God is love, that his love is for all people, whether friend or foe 
toward us, and that he desires that not one would perish but that all 
would come to eternal life. When we pray for our enemies, we are not 
only partnering with Christ in his redemptive purposes but also 
becoming more like our Father in heaven. Ask God to give you a specific 
Scripture verse to pray for your "enemies" whenever they come to mind. 
Instead of dwelling on a negative thought about them, displace the 
negative thought. Praying God's heart for someone will soon produce a 
reflection of his love in your own. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller re 
Mat. 5:43-45] 

  From the man who cuts you off in traffic to the former friend 
who has offended you, you often get hurt by the thoughtless or 
deliberate actions of others. How do you typically react? 
  Jesus tells us that our behavior must radically differ from 
that of the world: "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those 
who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who 
spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). 
  So what should you do when someone offends you? Follow a few 
basic steps to help move you toward a Christ-centered response. 
  1. Forgive the offender.
  Hurt, when not addressed properly, turns into bitterness and 
an unforgiving spirit. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, you have 
the spiritual resources to truly forgive others (Matt. 18:21-35; 
Eph. 4:32). When you release someone from the debt he or she owes 
you, you are free to see that person as Christ does - and anger and 
bitterness no longer have the power to rule your decisions. 
  2. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.
  Practice the skill of listening, and try to imagine the 
perspective of the offender. What might have motivated his actions? What is 
going on in her life? Many times, a person who hurts you is also a 
victim of hurt. Understanding the offender's private pains could be a 
key step toward reconciliation or preventing further conflicts. 
  3. Speak with noncombative yet truthful words.
  Speaking truth in love does not mean that your words will lack 
a sharp point; sometimes truth can feel very unsettling. The 
individual who has wounded you may need to grapple with some tough issues. 
  Only the Lord can work with a person's heart, but He asks you 
to continue to extend patience and love. And who knows? Maybe 
someday your "worst enemy" could become your best friend in Christ. 
Whatever the result, you can be sure of God's blessing as you seek His 
way of dealing with those who hurt you. [Life Principles SB By 
Charles Stanley re Mat. 5:44] 

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