How Do You Love Your Enemies When You Don’t Feel Like Doing So?

How Do You Love Your Enemies When You Don’t Feel Like Doing So? June 21, 2023

How Do You Love Your Enemies When You Don’t Feel Like Doing So
Photo by Maxim Tolchinskiy on Unsplash

One of the hardest things we’d ever learn from Christ is to love our enemies. It’s hard enough to love your neighbor. We even fail in loving the people closest to our hearts. How do we even start loving the people who have hurt us or the ones we love?

“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” – Luke 6:27-28 (NABRE)

Where do we even begin to find the motivation to love our enemies?

Even St. Faustina, the modern saint entrusted by Jesus Himself to preach the message of His Divine Mercy found it difficult to do so. Here is an excerpt of her dialogue with Jesus as recorded in her diary (Divine Mercy In My Soul):

It should be of no concern to you how anyone else acts; you are to be My living reflection, through love and mercy. I answered, “Lord, but they often take advantage of my goodness.” That makes no difference, My daughter. That is no concern of yours. As for you, be always merciful toward other people, and especially toward sinners.

What a hard teaching! Even for people who take advantage of your goodness, you are still urged to show them mercy.

But mercy for what? Why would you be merciful to sinners?

Here are some of the reasons we can reflect upon as we try to find mercy for our enemies:

1. Mercy for their current suffering

It may not be evident to you now, but when you look more closely at the lives of your enemies, you would discover that even they have much suffering to bear.

Even if you think you know the person well, you can’t quite read everything in their hearts.

Those people could be carrying painful wounds from the past. They may have been hurt badly, abandoned by the very people who should have cared for them the most.

How terrible is it to live a life that is far from the love of God? While people can get away from their transgressions against human laws, they can never escape from the consequences of evil in their lives.

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

2. Mercy for their possible future punishment

This is for those who may fail to repent for their sins.

How do you envision the future of those who fail to abide by God’s laws? The people who live only for themselves and killed their consciences?

Can you even imagine the state of their souls?

Unless they recognize their need for God’s mercy, they would suffer the absence of His love for all eternity. And isn’t this also what we call as hell?

3. Mercy for their ignorance

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34 (NABRE)

Jesus knew that even those who have crucified Him were not fully aware of the sins that they have committed.

This does not mean that every person does not know how to choose right from wrong. But it means God understands our limitations and weaknesses.

Compared to the angels, we know very little. And because of this, we can give our enemies the benefit of the doubt.

Final thoughts

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven…” – Luke 6:35-37 (NRSVCE)

Loving our enemies can start by having mercy upon them. Mercy for their ignorance, their suffering and the terrible consequences of the evil that they have done.

In the end, only God can fully know the inner motivations of the human heart. And so we surrender that judgment to Him.

In return, we ask for the grace to have mercy for each other. Let us pray that we may have mercy for our enemies because we too, have once become an enemy of God.

“Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8 (NABRE)

Jocelyn Soriano writes about relationships and the Catholic faith at “Single Catholic Writer”. She wrote the books To Love an Invisible God, Defending My Catholic Faith and Questions to God.

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About Jocelyn Soriano
Jocelyn Soriano is an author, poet, and book reviewer. She is an introvert who enjoys a cup of coffee and listening to the cello ****** while working.

She wrote the books To Love an Invisible God, Defending My Catholic Faith and Mend My Broken Heart. She also wrote books on poetry including Poems of Love and Letting Go and Of Waves and Butterflies: Poems on Grief. She has published more than 15 books and developed her own Android applications including God’s Promises and Catholic Answers and Apologetics.

She writes about relationships and common questions about God and the Catholic faith at Single Catholic Writer. She is currently single and happy and she would like everyone to know how happy we can be by drawing close to the love of God!

You can read more about the author here.

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