What does that mean - "Love your Enemies"?

People shooting each other and a crying child

We can love our neighbor, our family and friends. But what does it mean to love our enemy? Do we really need to?


( 马太福音 5:44 )

It already does not sound so easy to do so in theory, and on practice seems quite impossible. And is it really necessary?…

Let’s see how Jesus explains that.

只是我告诉你们,要爱你们的仇敌,为那逼迫你们的祷告。 这样就可以作你们天父的儿子;因为他叫日头照好人,也照歹人;降雨给义人,也给不义的人。 你们若单爱那爱你们的人,有什么赏赐呢?就是税吏不也是这样行吗? 你们若单请你弟兄的安,比人有什么长处呢?就是外邦人不也是这样行吗? 所以,你们要完全,像你们的天父完全一样。”

( 马太福音 5:44-48 )

Indeed, if we look around, we see that everybody receives sunshine and rain, fresh air to breathe. We and our enemies got placed in this wonderful world with breathtaking landscapes and majestic animals…

If we look deeper, we see that our enemies had mother and father like we did, wether they knew them or not. And, probably, their parents loved them as much as our parents loved us.

Here is a quote from a book of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle where a sister mourned for her killed brother, who happened to be one of the most dangerous criminals in the country...

"To all the world he was the man of violence, half animal and half demon; but to her he always remained the little willful boy of her own girlhood, the child who had clung to her hand."

Can our enemy be someone we actually love?

Imagine how our heavenly father breathed new life into whom we now call our enemy, cared for him when he was carried in his mother womb, then getting him birth, providing cloth, food to eat and water to drink all these years… And now he’s looking forward to get back his lost child, to get him smile again and call back his heavenly father: "Dad!...". God loves him as much as he loves us.

Let’s remember how David spared the life of his enemy Saul, who kept chasing and trying to kill David.

到了路旁的羊圈,在那里有洞,扫罗进去大解。大卫和跟随他的人正藏在洞里的深处。 跟随的人对大卫说:“耶和华曾应许你说:‘我要将你的仇敌交在你手里,你可以任意待他。’如今时候到了!”大卫就起来,悄悄地割下扫罗外袍的衣襟。 随后大卫心中自责,因为割下扫罗的衣襟; 对跟随他的人说:“我的主乃是耶和华的受膏者,我在耶和华面前万不敢伸手害他,因他是耶和华的受膏者。”

( 撒母耳记上 24:3-6 )

Here’s David words to Saul on that:

愿耶和华在你我中间判断是非,在你身上为我伸冤,我却不亲手加害于你。 古人有句俗语说:‘恶事出于恶人。’我却不亲手加害于你。

( 撒母耳记上 24:12-13 )

Another example of how to love our enemies is Jesus himself. Let’s take a look at what Jesus said about those who were abusing and crucifying him.


( 路加福音 23:34 )

And these are Stephan’s words when he was dying after being stoned.

<众人用石头打死司提反> 众人听见这话就极其恼怒,向司提反咬牙切齿。 但司提反被圣灵充满,定睛望天,看见 神的荣耀,又看见耶稣站在 神的右边, 就说:“我看见天开了,人子站在 神的右边。” 众人大声喊叫,捂着耳朵,齐心拥上前去, 把他推到城外,用石头打他。作见证的人把衣裳放在一个少年人名叫扫罗的脚前。 他们正用石头打的时候,司提反呼吁主说:“求主耶稣接收我的灵魂!” 又跪下大声喊着说:“主啊,不要将这罪归于他们!”说了这话,就睡了。扫罗也喜悦他被害。

( 使徒行传 7:54-60 )

When reading a story like this, we would not associate ourselves with the Jewish leaders. But what if it’s actually us who is killing an innocent God’s messenger who is exposing and accusing us?… We are not sinless, and the voice raised against us hadn’t come up without a reason.

What did you feel towards Jewish leaders when reading like they were stoning Stephen? Did you feel anger, rage?… What about feeling grace towards them, as they were trying to be right and stick to the law, and hated being exposed on the things that did not got right. In many ways we are like them, and they are like us. Let’s love them despite their wrongdoing. And try to love our enemies, just like God loves them.

爱是恒久忍耐,又有恩慈;爱是不嫉妒;爱是不自夸,不张狂, 不做害羞的事,不求自己的益处,不轻易发怒,不计算人的恶, 不喜欢不义,只喜欢真理; 凡事包容,凡事相信,凡事盼望,凡事忍耐。

( 哥林多前书 13:4-7 )