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Loving Your Enemies When You Don’t Want To

Loving your enemies can be a difficult thing to do.  It’s natural to want to protect yourself from people who may harm or mistreat you. 

There is nothing worse than being around toxic people that make you feel a certain way.  

However, we have to decide if we are going to walk around with a chip on our shoulder or are we going to obey God’s commandment to love our neighbor.  

Guess what … our enemy is also our neighbor.  

This does not mean that we make ourselves vulnerable to getting hurt but we do not want to directly disobey God.  

Here are a few things you can do as a Christian to protect yourself from your enemies:

Pray for protection

The Lord will keep you from all harm; he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

~Psalm 121:7-8~

Prayer can be a powerful way to ask for God’s protection and guidance. You can pray for your own safety and for the safety of others who may be at risk.

We must be confident in knowing that if God commanded us to love our enemies, then He is going to protect us in the process.

Seek His face in prayer as you prepare yourself to do something that is contrary to your will. 

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Set healthy boundaries

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

~Matthew 5:37~

It’s important to protect your own well-being, and this may mean setting boundaries with people who are harmful or toxic. 

Boundaries can help you to establish clear limits and communicate your needs and expectations to others

It’s okay to say no, to distance yourself from negative influences, and to take care of yourself.

Setting boundaries is not only biblical but it’s necessary. It is essential in our personal lives, in the workplace and in our ministries. 

Identify your boundaries

Take some time to think about what you are and are not comfortable with in your interactions with your enemies. 

What behaviors or actions are you willing to tolerate, and what do you want to avoid or stop?

Communicate your boundaries

Once you have identified your boundaries, it’s important to communicate them clearly to your enemies. 

This can be done through direct, assertive communication. It’s okay to be firm and to let them know what you need and expect from them.

Stand up for your boundaries

If your enemies violate your boundaries, it’s important to speak up and let them know that their behavior is not okay. 

This may involve setting consequences for future boundary violations, such as limiting or ending your interactions with them.

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Try to understand their perspective

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

~Luke 6:36~

It’s easy to see someone as an “enemy” if you only see things from your own perspective. 

Understanding your enemy’s perspective can be challenging, but it can also be a useful way to gain insight and find ways to resolve conflicts. 

Consider their experiences and background

Try to think about what led your enemy to hold the beliefs and values that they do. What experiences or circumstances might have shaped their perspective?

Look for common ground

Even if you disagree with your enemy, there may be some areas where you share common interests or values. 

Look for these areas of commonality and try to build on them.

Seek to understand, not necessarily to agree

The goal of trying to understand your enemy’s perspective is not necessarily to agree with them, but to gain a deeper understanding of where they are coming from. 

Keep an open mind and try to see things from their point of view, even if you ultimately disagree.

Communicate openly and honestly

When interacting with your enemy, try to be open and honest about your own perspective and listen actively to theirs. 

Avoid making assumptions and try to clarify misunderstandings.

It’s important to remember that understanding your enemy’s perspective does not necessarily mean that you have to agree with them or condone their behavior. 

It’s okay to maintain your own beliefs and values while also trying to gain a deeper understanding of where your enemy is coming from.

Practice empathy

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

~Matthew 7:12~

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Practicing empathy towards your enemies can be challenging, but it can also be a useful way to build connections and resolve conflicts. 

Try to put yourself in their shoes

Imagine what it would be like to be in their situation, with their background and experiences. This can help you to better understand their perspective and feelings.

Listen actively

When interacting with your enemy, try to really listen to what they are saying and how they are saying it. 

Pay attention to their body language and nonverbal cues. 

This can help you to better understand their emotional state.

Validate their feelings

Acknowledge and validate your enemy’s feelings, even if you don’t agree with their perspective or actions. 

This can help them to feel heard and understood.

Practice self-awareness

Be aware of your own emotions and reactions when interacting with your enemy. 

It’s important to stay calm and avoid getting overly emotional or reactive, as this can make it more difficult to practice empathy.

It’s okay to maintain your own beliefs and values while also trying to understand and connect with them on a deeper level.

Forgive Your Enemies

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

~Matthew 6:14-15~

Forgiveness can be a difficult but powerful way to let go of anger and resentment. 

It doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened, or that you have to be friends with the person, but it can help you move on and let go of negative feelings.

Acknowledge your feelings

It’s important to take the time to acknowledge and validate your own feelings about the situation. 

This might involve expressing your emotions through journaling, talking to a trusted friend or family member, or seeking support from a therapist.

Decide to forgive

Forgiving your enemy is a choice, and it’s important to make this decision consciously. 

Consider the benefits of forgiveness, such as the potential to reduce negative emotions and improve your relationships.

Practice self-compassion

Forgiving your enemy doesn’t mean that you have to forget what happened or that you are absolving them of responsibility for their actions. 

It’s important to also be kind and compassionate towards yourself and take care of your own well-being.

Forgiving your enemy can be a challenging process and it may not happen overnight. 

It’s okay to take your time and go at your own pace. 

It can also be helpful to seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals as you work through the process of forgiveness.

For Your Peace of Mind

Loving your enemy and showing forgiveness can have a number of benefits for the person doing the forgiving. 

Research has shown that forgiveness can lead to improved physical and mental health, including reduced stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. 

Forgiveness can also help to improve relationships and reduce conflict, leading to increased feelings of happiness and well-being.

Holding onto grudges and resentment can be emotionally draining and can prevent us from fully embracing the present moment. 

Forgiving can help us to move forward and find a sense of peace and closure.

I wear many hats; Wife, Mom, Minister, Blogger and Entrepreneur.

It’s not easy juggling everything but with the Grace of God, I can do all things!

My plate is full but my cup runneth over!!

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