Love Thy Enemies

Did you get a little love on Valentine’s Day? Maybe some chocolate, flowers, or a special dinner? I love walking into my house to be surprised by a beautiful bouquet of roses on the kitchen island and a sentimental card from my Shug.

It’s natural to express our love towards those we care about.

Now let me ask – did you give a little love? How about to those for whom you don’t enjoy their company and want nothing to do with them? I’m thinking about someone with whom you might have exchanged bitter words or a difference of opinion that turned horribly sour. Maybe you feel cheated by someone in a financial transaction. Or let’s get down and dirty – what about those who have tortured or murdered? Have you shown any love to any of these people lately?

I believe it would be safe to say that you consider these individuals your enemy. We don’t have to show love to those people, do we? I mean, our enemies? Weeeeelllll . . .  I’m afraid you’re not going to like the answer, but it comes straight out of the New Testament from the mouth of Jesus.

“Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44). Really? Jesus spoke these words in the Sermon on the Mount. He addressed people burdened by the heavy and often unreasonable demands placed upon them by the Roman government. Excessive laws, unjust taxes, and abusive rights, not to mention unwarranted beatings and arrests. These were common occurrences inflicted upon the Jewish people by the Romans. Surely, Jesus didn’t mean they had to love the ruthless Romans. Surely, we don’t have to love the “Romans” in our lives, too.

The answer is as true now as it was then. Yes. Yes, we are to love our enemies. But how? How can you love someone who has intentionally wronged you or hurt you or your family? There’s only one way: through the power of the Holy Spirit. He has the power to create love in our hearts. Love is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “Hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit empowers us to love the way Christ loves us. In other words, we can offer unconditional love.

Christian love does more than what is expected. It serves us well to remember how God shares His gifts to the good and the bad. He brings rain and sunshine upon everyone, not just His chosen. In the same way, we are to love one another, good and bad, just as Jesus loves us (John 13:34).

We are also commanded to do good to those who hate us (Luke 7:27). Do good? “If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink” (Proverbs 25:21). “If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also” (Luke 6:29). Geez!

There is more. We are not to be glad when our enemy falls. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles” (Proverbs 24:17).

It gets worse!

We are to forgive them. Yeah, “them,” as in, our enemies. We are to forgive our enemies. “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13). Jesus gave us the ultimate example when He uttered these powerful words with his dying breath as He hung on a cross. “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Lastly, we are to bless our enemies. “Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28). Hey, I love to receive blessings. Who doesn’t? But isn’t it enough to do good, love unconditionally, and forgive? Now I’ve got to bless my enemies, too?

Big sigh. That’s an awful lotta love to take in. Loving enemies. Showing unconditional love. Doing good. Forgiving those who dislike me. Blessing them. I need help. And not just a little. I need it to do every one of those things. The good thing is, I have it. So do you.

Now, let’s go and exercise those love muscles! I bet the Lord will give us an opportunity real soon.  

Karen Allen


  1. Sharon Atwood on February 16, 2024 at 12:04 pm

    It’s not every day that we are reminded to love our enemies. This blog does a good job giving examples of times we need to do this. Good to be reminded!

    • Karen Allen on February 18, 2024 at 1:10 pm

      I’m glad I could serve as your reminder, Sharon. We all need to.

  2. David E Luellen, PhD on February 17, 2024 at 4:00 pm

    With President Lincoln’s birthday recently celebrated and your blog, Karen, encouraging us to love our enemies, I recalled an axiom attributed to our sixteenth President: “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

    Always concerned with the accuracy of attributions, I decided to check on that quotation. I quickly learned that no one can precisely document who first made that statement. Was it Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund who died in 1437? The quotation was not formally attributed to him until 1818 … centuries after his death. That attribution is likely apocryphal.

    The first attribution of that quotation to Abraham Lincoln along with a pleasant little tale occurred in the early 1940s, decades after the President’s assassination. Again, the attribution and storyare likely apocryphal.

    Between 1437 and the 1940s, that quotation has been attributed to nearly everyone but Donald Duck! The reality is that we don’t know who first spoke those words.

    But the absolute reality, as you have reminded us, Karen, is that God’s infallible Word tells us that we are to do good to those who hate us. Beyond that, “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” And on top of all that, His Word tells us to bless our enemies,

    God’s Word! That’s attribution! Now for application!

    • Karen Allen on February 18, 2024 at 1:15 pm

      How fascinating, Dr. Luellen! I can always count on you to shed some light or interesting facts. That quote is perfect for the blog at hand. Thank you for passing on a little history behind it. And thank you for reinforcing the message of God from His Word that we are to not only love and forgive our enemies but to bless them. That is quite the challenge to apply, isn’t it?

  3. J.D. Wininger on February 22, 2024 at 5:29 am

    For me, I’ve come to learn that the most loving thing I can do for someone is nothing. If I keep my mouth shut, my temper in check, and my opinions to myself when enemies are near, then I give God the space He needs to do His work in my heart. I don’t always instantly forgive, but I do try and ask God to help me reach the point where I can. Another great post ma’am. Hope you’re getting stronger with each day.

    • Karen Allen on February 26, 2024 at 3:51 pm

      Oh, I don’t think any of us are instant forgivers but perhaps we can be instant lovers through the power of Christ. I hear what you are saying about saying nothing when enemies lurk, and that is not a bad thing. Sometimes saying nothing is loving. I’ve found myself in that position more than once. Smiles go a long way! Thank you for your continuous support. Each day brings me closer to healing. I hope you and Ms. Diane are holding strong yourselves.

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Ewe R Blessed Ministries / Karen O. Allen

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