Have you ever felt the pain and rejection of a trusted friend, family member, or spouse? It is our natural inclination to want to seek revenge or “make them pay for the suffering that they caused us. We can also turn inward and feel sorry for ourselves and can even experience anger and bitterness towards the person who has hurt us. But how as Christians can we love our enemies? 1 Peter 3:9 tells us to not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing. This may not always come naturally or easy. Let’s admit that when we are hurt by the people who are supposed to love us, this scripture may not “feel” right to us. We may want to lash out at the one who caused us pain, this can come in the form of verbal lashing with our tongues or even physically lashing out.
It is often deemed acceptable by some to tear people down verbally or get back at them if we feel hurt. Peter, remembering Jesus’ teaching to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), encourages people to pay back wrongs by praying for the offenders. In God’s Kingdom, revenge is not acceptable, or insulting a person, no matter how indirectly it is done. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:” It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19.
Jesus said that we should do good to those who hurt us! Only God can give us the strength to accomplish this. Our desire should not be to keep score with the wrong-doings others may have inflicted upon us, but to love and forgive them.
Jesus taught, “You have heard that is was said, love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44. Jesus was teaching here that if we love our enemies and treat them well, you will truly show that Jesus is Lord of your life. In God’s economy evil is conquered through good. Christ taught mercy.
We must live by a higher standard than what the world teaches. It is only through the power of God’s spirit can we truly love and forgive when we have been wronged by others. Only those who are connected to God can supernaturally love in this way. Loving someone never means allowing them to do whatever they want to you. Allowing someone to do something that is not in their best interest is not love, but feeling sorry for them. One of the best ways we can show love to others is interceding in prayer for them, and speaking blessings over their lives.
Share your experiences with loving someone who has hurt you. What did you do that helped and was Christ-like? What did not help? Your input is so valuable.