Peace With Your Enemies – We do not purposefully make enemies, but as we travel through life enemies happen.  We want peace, but we do something offending someone, or someone does something offending us. It snowballs as temperaments and tempers collide. It can even become physical or a judicial matter. There are thousands of ways to make enemies.

LIVING IN PEACE
By Pastor Delbert Young

Peace With Your Enemies

Peace With Enemies 

Scriptures: Romans 12:19, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, Deuteronomy 32:35, Luke 6:27-36, Luke 6:27, 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16, Luke 6:27-31, Luke 6:32-34, Luke 6:35, Luke 6:35

A new minister was talking to the oldest member of his congregation. He said, “I am 90 years old, sir, and I haven’t an enemy in the world.” The minister was impressed and said, “Sir that is amazing.” The old man replied, “Nope, don’t have a one. I have outlived them all.”

We all make enemies during life. We do not like to think about this, but we do. A few weeks ago a terrorist enemy, al-Zarqawi, was taken out, but within days al-Qaeda named his replacement, al Muhajir, and we have another enemy. Enemies seem to replenish. We deal with one “enemy situation” and another replaces it. The term “make enemies” may not be the best term. We do not purposefully “make enemies,” but as we travel through life enemies happen. We do something offending someone, or someone does something offending us. It snowballs as temperaments and tempers collide. It can even become physical or a judicial matter. The next thing we know, we have an enemy of one degree or another. Perhaps someone does not approve of what we stand for. They attacked our character. They threatened our self worth, finances, or credibility. They attacked our family and family members, etc. There are thousands of ways to “make enemies.” In addition, when we have enemies, we put our own selves through all sorts of mental anguish. We punish ourselves. Nothing good can come from having enemies, not physically, not mentally, and not spiritually. We know this. Yet, we Christians take great solace in scriptures like…

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 1:6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you

Deuteronomy 32:35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”

We read verses like those and say, “YES! Get’em God. Give’em trouble! Their day is coming!”Clarence Darrow, a criminal lawyer joked once saying, “Everyone is a potential murderer. I have not killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction out of obituary notices.” Are there certain people from whom you might get some dark inner satisfaction if their names were to show up in the obituaries?

At this point, I must ask, is this the attitude you are supposed to have? Is this “dealing” with your enemies as Jesus told us? Jesus did not say to outlive your enemies, or to gloat over scriptures talking about God doing vengeance to your enemies. I ask you. What did Jesus say to do to your enemies? Jesus said to love your enemies. We are to LIVE IN PEACE WITH OUR ENEMIES.

On one occasion, Jesus prayed all night long (Luke 6:12). The next morning, he selected twelve disciples (Luke 6:13-16). He immediately huddled them together and in the hearing of a multitude of people who came to hear him, he began teaching the most radical teaching ever given. This teaching shows the principles distinguishing us, the children of God, from all others. Among the distinguishing principles separating us from other beliefs is this one: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. Let’s read what Jesus has to say. Imagine being there and hearing this teaching when Jesus spoke it the first time. Imagine how your mind would have operated as you heard this.

Luke 6:27-36 “BUT I TELL YOU WHO HEAR ME: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES [What did he say?], do good to those who hate you [Is he kidding?], bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you [What does he mean?]. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also [My jaw just fell open.]. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic [He is serious, isn’t he?]. Give to everyone who asks you [Everyone?], and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you [Well, that’s not too bad.]. “If you LOVE those who LOVE you, what credit is that to you? [Credit? I get credit for doing that stuff?] Even “sinners” LOVE those who LOVE them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? [Credit? Hummm, interesting.] Even “sinners” do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? [He is big on this credit thing.] Even “sinners” lend to “sinners,” expecting to be repaid in full. But LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, do good to them [I just don’t know about this.], and lend to them without expecting to get anything back [I’ve never done that before.]. THEN your reward will be great [Credit… reward… well, I suppose doing that would please God.], and YOU WILL BE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH [Oh! I’m getting it. I am supposed to act like Father God.], because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. {Of course, emphasis added}

We are to LIVE IN PEACE WITH OUR ENEMIES. When it comes to dealing with enemies, Jesus, as we can see, is very radical, but not radical for the sake of being radical. Jesus is radical only to show us how to be children of the Most High God. The Jews thought they were children of the Most Highbecause they were Jews. We think we are children of the Most High because we pray a sinner’s prayer. This teaching of Jesus introduced a completely new concept concerning the enemy issue. If we are sons of the Most High God, this is how we are to believe and how we are to live. It is life at the highest level. It’s not optional. It is a child of God’s nature.

Interestingly, Jesus began talking about this radical concept about enemies by saying, “But I tell you who hear me…” Jesus is saying, “Do you really want to hear this?” You do not really want to hear this UNLESS you want to be a child of the Most High God. Here is how the Message Bible translates verse 27.

Luke 6:27 “TO YOU WHO ARE READY FOR THE TRUTH, I say this: Love your enemies. LET THEM BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU, NOT THE WORST.”

Is this not a great way to approach this passage? Loving our enemies does bring out the absolute best in us because, if you will, it brings out the God in us. It moves us to the highest level. Jesus said, “To you who are ready for the truth…” I cannot help but think about the movie “A Few Good Men” with Tom Cruise as LTJG Daniel Kaffee and Jack Nicholson as Col Nathan R. Jessep. On the witness stand, Kaffee questioned Jessep saying, “I want the truth!” Jessep answered, “You can’t handle the truth!” It’s like this with LIVING AT PEACE WITH ENEMIES. The truth is if you are a child of the Most High, you love your enemies, but “You can’t handle the truth!”

The scriptures command us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. I might not love God totally the way I wished I did, however I truly desire to love him with my all. The scriptures tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I might not love my neighbors exactly as much as I love myself, but I try to be a good neighbor. The scriptures tell me as a husband to love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. I might not be the best husband in the world at showing love for my wife, however I do pretty well. BUT, love my enemies? Am I ready for the truth?Do I hear this? Do I even want to hear this? The truth is this: If I am a child of the Most High God, I will love my enemies. I willLIVE IN PEACE WITH MY ENEMIES.

If we are children of the MOST HIGH God, we love everyone. Love is the spiritual DNA principle.

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

John is very clear on this. God is love. So, love is the spiritual DNA proof God is our Father. If you do not love your enemies, you do not know God. If you live in love, then God is in you. You will find a way to love – do good to – the person who is your enemy. This is exactly what Jesus said.

Luke 6:27-31 …do GOOD to those who hate you, BLESS those who curse you, PRAY for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, TURN TO HIM the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, DO NOT DEMAND IT BACK. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Jesus said if you are a true child of God, you will find a way to do good to your enemies. You will find a way to bless them and pray for them. You will summon the fortitude and not retaliate even in the most severe situations. Again, do we hear this? Are we ready for the truth? It’s all according to our being serious with God and wanting to be a child of the Most High God. How serious are you? Most people are not this serious. They do church on the outside, but something is wrong with the DNA.

I read a story about a tired truck driver who, late one night, pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. As the waitress served him, three leather jacketed motorcyclists walked in and decided to humiliate the truck driver. They verbally abused him. One took the hamburger off his plate and began eating it. Another took his french-fries. The third picked up his coffee and began drinking it. The truck driver said nothing, kept his cool, and calmly stood up. The bikers figured he would at least take a swing at one of them. Instead, he picked up his bill and walked to the cash register. He paid and went out the door. The waitress stood watching him from the window until she saw the big truck disappear into the night. She went back to work. One of the bikers said laughingly to her, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?” She said, “I don’t know about this, but he sure ain’t much of a truck driver. He ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot with that 18-wheeler.” This is what most of us would want to do. On the outside, we say we forgive. On the inside, we look for ways to get vengeance. However, this is not what Jesus taught.

We only treat the symptoms by running over the motorcycles, or outliving enemies, or even waiting for God to pour out vengeance on enemies, but do not correct the problem. Jesus wants us to heal the problem by loving our enemies, not simply treat the symptoms. When you do good, bless, pray for, turn the cheek, and give to those who hate you, you diffuse the situation. You heal the problem and actually destroy your enemy, but not with vengeance. Abraham Lincoln said, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” How many enemies have you destroyed using this approach?

Luke 6:32-34 If you love those who love you, WHAT CREDIT IS THAT TO YOU? Even “sinners” love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, WHAT CREDIT IS THAT TO YOU? Even “sinners” do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, WHAT CREDIT IS THAT TO YOU? Even “sinners” lend to “sinners,” expecting to be repaid in full.

We easily love people expecting love in return. We easily do good to people expecting them to do good to us. We will lend as long as the people to whom we lend repay us. We give to receive. However, Jesus said, “What credit is that to you?” This does not distinguish you as a child of the Most High God.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. THEN YOUR REWARD WILL BE GREAT, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

God being kind to the ungrateful and wicked is sort of a kink in a lot of theology, isn’t it? This is radical. Some tell us God will rapture the church and make the ungrateful and wicked go through a great tribulation and one day those wicked are going to get it! But, God tells us he loves people. He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. God loves all people. God loves every person.

Jesus said if you would find some way to express love to your enemies THEN YOUR REWARD WILL BE GREAT! He said, “THEN…” after you find some way to show love to your enemies there isREWARD and it is GREAT. What is the reward? It is GREAT. What GREAT thing do you need, or will you need? What may be great for me may not be great for you. To some people, a million dollars would not be great, but something is great to them. Would health be something GREAT? Something is aGREAT REWARD to each of us. More important than defining the GREAT REWARD is realizing we block any reward by not finding a way to love our enemies.

Luke 6:35 THENYOU WILL BE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Jesus said when you love your enemies, you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. You literally resemble God. It is DNA proof he is your Father. It is your nature tolove your enemies. It is not something you make yourself do. The Holy Spirit quickens it inside of you and you respond.

Here is how I want to close today. We are to LIVE IN PEACE WITH OUR ENEMIES. Can you think of someone, or maybe even many, you could put into the “enemies” category in one degree or another? Can you think of someone who has mistreated you, done you wrong, or even tried to destroy you? Are you a child of the Most High? Will you find a way to love them? Here is what God will do. At some point in time in your future, you will have an opportunity to repay evil for evil or good for evil. I pray you remember this lesson.

Other Related Sermons:

You want Me to Love (Agape) Who? part 2 video audio notes Luke 6:27-36

Enemies I Have – sermon video audio notes

You want Me to Love People Who? video audio notes Luke 6: 27-28

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young

Andrew Heeman’s Quotations, http://www.wordskit.com/quotes/vice.shtml

Abraham Lincoln Quotes,