Love Your Enemies

Posted by Jim Murphy on Friday, March 14, 2014 @ 4:36 PM

You’ll live brighter when you love your enemies.

Matthew 5:43-48

Who They Hated

The Pharisees (the religious leaders during Jesus’ day) figured out that they could hate someone and have it be a good thing. They convinced themselves that hating anyone who didn’t believe in God, who wasn’t obedient to Him, basically, hating anyone who wasn’t a Jew, was in fact a righteous thing to do. They were taught to “love your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:18) and they defined their “neighbor” as their fellow Jew. But notice in Luke 10:25-37 Jesus teaches us that our neighbor is even someone who we think is an enemy of God (for the Jewish people in this parable it was the Samaritan). It’s easy to love someone who thinks like me, acts like me, and talks like me. It’s much more difficult to love someone who is the opposite of me in so many ways. But, that is exactly what Jesus is asking us to do. There are two groups of people whom we tend to hate and whom God is calling us to love.

Who We Hate

  1. Those we think are our enemies: This is anyone with whom we live in opposition. It could be
    a. Someone you know that you disagree with, get annoyed by, can’t stand being around, and so on. This could be someone at school, another teenager, or a teacher. This could be someone at home in your family, a parent, a brother, or a sister, or a cousin. This could be someone at church, someone on a sports team. It could also be
    b. Someone you don’t know but disagree or someone whose ideas are opposite of yours like a politician, or someone of another religion or belief, or even someone in a different country with a different culture. God wants to love them unconditionally. Not agree with them…not condone them…but to love them, care for them, even accept them.
  2. Those we think are God’s enemies: We all have ideas of what God likes and doesn’t like or who God loves and doesn’t love. We look at certain people who do things that we think God hates and think that he hates them for it. Then we tend feel righteous because we hate them too. But, that’s not how God works! He loves everyone unconditionally! And so should we. Please don’t confuse this with the idea that everyone gets into heaven or that we should never challenge people or tell them we disagree with them. This is about how we treat them…how we care for them…how we love them.

Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” You’ll live brighter when you love those whom you hate.

Small Group Questions

Loving Your Enemies

  1. Talk about the different groups of people we tend to hate and why.
  2. What are ways we should “love” them even when we don’t agree with them?

SHINE Series Wrap Up

  1. On the back is the list of all the topics, bottom lines, and teaching points we’ve covered in this series. Go back over them and ask which ones had the most impact.  
  2. We’ll be having a time of response after the message with crosses and bowls. During small groups sometime, ask students to share what they were feeling or thinking during that response.

Conversations at Home

Again, as with all the other matters Jesus raises in this series, teens learn best what is modeled at home. What kind of language do you as the parent use when you talk about those with whom you disagree or dislike? Is it filled with hate and anger? Or, is it clear to your teen that you are doing your best to love, care for, and accept that person even though you disagree with them? Until you are willing to work on this yourself, your teen is likely to not be open to working on this either.

In your conversations at home, look for clues about who your son or daughter might perceive to be his or her own enemies or those he or she perceives to be God's enemies and how he or she interacts with them. Be sure to let your teen "vent" as needed but also explore with him/her ways to demonstrate love and acceptance in the midst of the situation.

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These posts are from the weekly lessons at Wednesday night FUEL. They are designed to share with you an outline of the content of our discussions, the small group questions, and ideas for conversations at home. Feel free to use these for your own conversations or lessons.

Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy, Associate Pastor, NextGen MinistriesAssociate Pastor NextGen Ministries

218-751-3699 ext 14 jim@bemidjicovenant.com

 

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