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?


( 馬太福音 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.

但是我告訴你們﹐要愛你們的仇敵【有古卷加:要給咒詛你們的祝福;要好待那恨惡你們的】﹐要為那逼迫你們【有古卷加:和誣衊你們】的禱告。 這樣﹐你們纔可以做你們天上的父的兒女;因為他安排日出﹑是照惡人﹑也照好人;他下雨是給老實人﹑也給不老實的人。 你們若愛那愛你們的﹐有甚麼賞報可得呢?就是收稅人不也是這樣行麼? 你們若單給你們的弟兄請安﹐比人有甚麼長處呢?就是外國人不也是這樣行麼? 所以你們要完全﹐像你們的天父那麼完全。

( 馬太福音 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.

他來到了路旁的羊壘圈﹐在那裡有個洞﹐掃羅進去大解。大衛和跟隨的人正住【或譯:坐】在洞的儘裡頭。 跟隨大衛的對大衛說:「永恆主曾對你過說:『看吧﹐我必將你的仇敵交在你手裡;你可以任意處置他』;看哪﹐今天就是那日子了。」大衛就起來﹐輕悄悄地割下掃羅外袍的衣邊。 隨後大衛心中自己責備自己割下掃羅的衣邊; 就對跟隨的人說:「我既是永恆主所膏立的﹐我絕對不對我主上﹑不對永恆主所膏主的行這事﹐來伸手攻擊他。」

( 撒母耳記上 24:3-6 )

Here’s David words to Saul on that:

願永恆主在你我之間判斷是非;願永恆主從你身上為我伸冤;我手卻不加害於你。 正如古人的俗語說:『惡事出於惡人』;我手卻不加害於你。

( 撒母耳記上 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.

眾人聽了這些話﹐心如刀割﹐就向司提反咬牙切齒。 但司提反呢﹑充滿聖靈﹐定睛望天﹐卻看見上帝的榮光﹐耶穌站在上帝的右邊﹐ 就說:「看哪﹐我看見天敞開著﹐人子站在上帝的右邊呢。」 他們就大聲喊叫﹐摀著耳朵﹐同心合意地向他衝上去﹐ 給趕出城外﹐直扔石頭打。見證人把衣裳脫在一個叫掃羅的壯年人腳旁。 他們扔石頭打司提反的時候﹑司提反呼求說:「主耶穌阿﹐接納我的靈。」 又跪下大聲喊著說:「主阿﹐不要將這罪歸於他們。」說了這話﹐就長眠下去了。00

( 使徒行傳 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.

愛﹑是恆久忍耐﹐滿有慈惠;愛﹑不妒忌;愛﹑不誇張﹐不自吹自大﹐ 不作合禮的事﹐不逕求自己的。不輕易激怒﹐不計算人的惡﹐ 不喜歡不義﹐只贊許真實; 凡事忍受【或譯:包容】﹐凡事相信﹐凡事盼望﹐凡事堅忍。

( 哥林多前書 13:4-7 )