What are we to do about enemies?

Conflict in a sinful world is inevitable. Conflict because of the Word of God and witness to Christ is unavoidable. Bearers of the Good News are to expect it. Expect to take up your cross. When faced with opposition, what does God call us to do? What are we to do about enemies?

Love Your Enemies

You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 /NRSV)

  1. Acting by the Spirit or reacting to the situation?
  2. Are there people in your life today who "persecute" you? What can you do about it?
  3. What kind of change can we expect in the church and in our families when we love those who have made themselves an "enemy" to us?

Let Go, Let God

Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: 68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel....69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant.... (Luke 1:67-72)

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)

  1. Describe what it is like to let God take care of your enemies?

The Ultimate Enemy

For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:12)

  1. Who is our struggle really against? How does that knowledge help us in dealing with "flesh and blood enemies?"