Human nature only requires us to be kind to those who are kind to us. And we’re well within our “rights” humanly speaking to give back to others the same hate, contempt, and pain they inflict on us. But Christ calls us to a higher standard – to love our enemies and to bless those who curse us.

To be sure, this is a hard saying. And because it goes against our natural responses, we will need God’s grace to empower us to accomplish this supernatural calling. All the same, we must open our hearts in faith to put this teaching into practice.

Often we think love requires mutuality. And certainly it’s a blessing when we can receive from others the same quality of love we give to them. In fact, it’s very easy to conclude that this is the ideal – mutually loving and bringing good to each other. But through his teaching and very life, Christ shows us this is not always the case. At times, we must still choose love even when the other doesn’t do the same. And this is clearly the case with those who intentionally curse us and cause us harm.

The call to love focuses on our heart attitudes and actions toward the other, and doesn’t require a substantive change in the nature of the relationship itself. Our enemy might still be our enemy. And those who curse us and bring harm might remain unchanged.  But how we show up is fundamentally different.

Instead of retaliating and giving them a taste of their own medicine, we let them experience the love of God through us. This might start by simply extending them mercy and not giving them what they deserve. We might then choose to pray for them, which keeps us from cursing them even in our hearts. And, in time, we might also extend our practice of love by bringing some concrete goodness into their life.

In the end, God’s love didn’t wait on our response. And we’re called to do the same – to love and bless even our enemies. 

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Dr. Corey Carlisle

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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