You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. Matthew 5:43-46 NLT
I had the opportunity to live the above verse out. Yes, opportunity.
When my flesh screamed at me to raise my voice and put another person in their place, the Holy Spirit in me led me to pray that I would be able to turn the other cheek and love them instead.
In some situations, it appears, and truthfully, it may even be true that individuals are intentionally attacking us, our character, our very being. However, when we follow Jesus’s example and teachings, we instead: love our enemies, we turn the other cheek, we go with them the extra mile.
Society tells us that this is allowing others to take advantage of us and that we are being a doormat.
I disagree. Jesus was no one’s doormat. Still, He loves. He didn’t give us the example of being easily provoked – He loved then and He loves now. He loved to the point of laying down His life for His enemies while we all were His enemy.
Please hear what I’m saying, I’m in no way advocating for abuse in any form. I do believe that there are ways to bestow the love, mercy, compassion, and grace upon our enemies rather than to respond in kind.
When I was able (after a few days and a lot of prayer), I did address the situation with the person. I was able to do so calmly and allow God to take control of my words. In the end, we were able to laugh together and the other person actually thanked me for my honesty.
I thank God for demonstrating to me how we are to love those who hurt us. If I, who call myself a Christian, do not demonstrate the love of God, how am I any different from everyone else?
*Original Image by: A.B