How do you feel when you picture your loved ones in your mind? Does thinking about your good friends and family bring a smile upon your face? Now, picture in your mind those you really don't like. How do you feel when you think about your "enemies"? Do you feel angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, annoyed, or confused?

While many of us don't have real enemies, we do have people who we dislike greatly for whatever reason. Regardless of why we don't like them, we ought to love them.

Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies." Love our enemies? How in the world can we like our enemies, let alone love them? And why should we even love our enemies if they have deliberately hurt us? Let us answer "Why?" first...

Why should we love our enemies?

1) To fulfill the second greatest commandment: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:31, WEB) Our "neighbor" is anyone else besides ourselves, so it includes our "enemies." Nearly all other principles in life are based on this commandment (i.e., don't steal, don't cheat, don't murder, don't commit adultery, etc.). For example, if we don't like others to gossip about us, then we shouldn't gossip about others. In other words, we should follow the golden rule: "As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them." (Luke 6:31, WEB)

2) To show that we are God's children: "...everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who doesn't love doesn't know God, for God is love. By this God's love was revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another." (I John 4:7-11) This passage tells us mainly two important things:

a) Jehovah God is the very representation of love. To be like our Heavenly Father, we must show love to one another. They say, "like mother, like daughter" or "like father, like son." Can we be like our Father when we do not love?

b) Jehovah let His one and only Son die for us in order to wash away our sins, so that our relationship with God can be made right (or justified) again. Jesus' sacrifice has given every person an equal opportunity to receive eternal life with God after a future resurrection of all the dead. But what kind of people did Jesus die for? Murderers, liars, cheaters, adulterers; yes, humans have been all these and more. So not a single person deserves God's grace (undeserved kindness)--no, not even one, for each one of us is a sinner (i.e., when was the last time you told a lie or cursed?). So "if God loved us in this way," can we not also love one another? And remember, God "makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)

3) To love meaningfully. Jesus asked, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much." (Luke 6:32-34) Good questions!

How can we love our enemies?

Jesus answered this question when he said, "Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) Let us look at each action more closely...

1) "Blessing" your enemies does not mean that you approve what they did. If, for example, your acquaintances robbed a bank, you shouldn't bless them for their crime. What you should do is to openly rebuke them for what they did. "Tough love" or disciplinary love is how you "bless" your enemies; it leads them on to the right path in life. Correction is precious. While we don't like being corrected, Christian rebuke leads to righteousness: "All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11)

2) "Doing good" to those who mistreat you means: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink." (Romans 12:20) We should never repay evil with evil, only with good: "Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21) In other words, we should never take revenge, for vengeance belongs to Jehovah: "Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, 'Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.'" (Romans 12:19)

3) "Praying" for your enemies is when you sincerely pray to God, asking Him to help open their eyes "that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in [Christ]." (Acts 26:18)

Anna M. Aquino, writer and stay-at-home mom, says, "Pray for them--I mean really pray for them, and really care about people. The world can see through fake Christians. They don't need people with there Fake concern. We have to be open to do things for people, even Random acts of kindness. If they are your neighbor, why don't you offer to cut their grass or just do it to bless them?"

Pastor Tele, founder of Zion City Ministries, agrees; she says, "In times of need, show higher consciousness by extending help in any shape or form."

Showing kindness to your enemies "is a lifestyle," says Mark D. Watt, author and entrepreneur. He suggests, "Show love to your enemies by emulating Jesus. Take on the character of Jesus and God. In order to accomplish this, one must change his or her heart and mind from the inside of his or her innermost being, so that the manifestation is displayed outwardly."

We must "make a determination each and every morning to do and say the right thing," says Author Sally Marks. "Develop compassion. There are many great books on the subject. Pick one that resonates with your soul, read a passage every day and try to follow the message. This must be a life-long practice to keep it fresh in your heart."

Author Daylle Deanna Schwartz echoes Sally's thoughts on being compassionate: "People who hurt us are hurting themselves and usually unhappy. Have compassion for their situation and forgive them, if only in your heart, and send love. When someone is nasty to me, I say, 'You must be hurting and I have compassion for why you're being mean to me.'"

To sum it all up:

Put on therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord. Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.
(Colossians 3:12-17, WEB)

When we follow Biblical guidance to put on "a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance" we will view "our enemies" in a completely different light. No more will we feel anger, frustration, or sadness when they come to mind; instead, they become our brothers and sisters in Christ.

But can we "put on kindness" ourselves? As with love, joy, peace, and longsuffering, the answer is "no"--at least, not to the fullest extent possible. Rather, we can put on kindness only when we allow Jehovah to develop kindness in us. Remember, kindness is a quality of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which can be fully developed and maintained by God, and God alone.

So next time when your enemy comes to mind, remember what Jesus said: "Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44) and ask Jehovah and Jesus to develop kindness in you.

Author's Bio: 

Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author (with 26 book awards, including nine Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards), motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness"), contributor to 22, editor to one, and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. Visit for more inspiration.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Jehovah? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.