Blessing Our Enemies

When we choose to love and pray for those who don’t deserve it, we are transformed.

Luke 6:27-28

In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs us to love our adversaries and treat them well. Both Matthew and Luke’s records indicate that when Jesus said this, He used a form of the Greek word agape, which refers to unconditional love. This love isn’t a superficial affection or feeling of goodwill, and it’s not based on the nature or appearance of the other person. Agape is the deepest kind of love we can display.

At first, using this Greek word in regard to enemies seems counterintuitive, but actually it is the perfect solution: agape forms through an act of our will. When we choose to love, our emotions follow the decision of our mind.

For example, when we pray for our enemies, it changes our heart—not all at once but over time. And when we ask God to help us express genuine Christlike love towards our enemies, those requests mold us too. That’s the kind of prayer God is delighted to answer.

A bitter response toward an enemy will yield only negativity, but a gracious response can have profound results. God has a redemptive plan in mind for every person, and we have an opportunity to participate in that plan when we display agape, the unconditional love of the Lord.