Proverbs 25:19, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”
Some people have the impression that God was “mean” in the Old Testament and “nice” in the New Testament. However, Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
The same Jesus that said, “love your enemy” in Matthew 5:44, is the same one who inspired King Solomon in the Old Testament to write, “if your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat.” From generation to generation, God’s command to love has been expressed to humanity.
God has always been kind to sinners who are His enemies. He gives them air to breathe, food to eat and a freewill to choose or reject Him. When people reject God, He takes no pleasure in their death and destruction. God said in Ezekiel 33:11, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?” From beginning to end the Bible teaches us that God has shown His enemies kindness and mercy.
Likewise, out of God’s great love He judges the world. God loves justice and truth, which is why He hates evil and injustice. All that God does in judgment is just and fair (Revelation 15:3-4). Love is shown by what we hate. If you love your children, you hate anything that would harm them. The same is true with God’s judgment, because He loves us, He hates our sin. And if we choose sin, out of love He will judge us and give us exactly what we want; an eternity without Him.
As Christ’s followers we shouldn’t treat people the way they treat us, but rather we should treat all people the way we want to be treated. The same is true with our enemies. If we see them suffering, we should offer them our help because it is not right to delight in their suffering. For example, imagine if one of your co-workers who dislikes you forgets their wallet at home. You should buy them lunch and say it’s a gift that they don’t have to repay. By treating your enemy like this you are showing yourself to be a child of God because God sends rain to both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
Obviously, there are times in which God judges the wicked and commands us to protect the innocent from evildoers (Psalms 2 & Romans 13:1-5). But the kind of enemies we can love and reach out to, are the ones we share life with and are able to affect for the good. Therefore, make a decision today to be kind to your enemies as God in times past has been kind to you!
- Think of some people in your life that don’t like you. Now decide to love them and treat them kindly.
- Make it a general rule to go out of your way to do things for people, even if they don’t like you.
- Pray and ask God to use your kindness to bring change in people’s lives. Chip Ingram wrote, “Nothing breaks down barriers and preconceived ideas about ‘Christians and Christianity’ more than when we treat people the way Jesus treated His enemies.”
One Year Reading Plan
1 Samuel 24:1-25:44, John 10:22-42, Psalm 116:1-19, & Proverbs 15:20-21. Click here to read online.