By Love Transformed, by R.T. Kendall

Want to receive By Love Transformed by email? Sign up here

Loving Your Enemies

But I tell you: Love your enemies. ... If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? —Matthew 5:44, 46

Jesus instructs us to overcome our enemies, not by showing everybody how wrong they were, nor by matching their hatred with ours, but by loving them.

This brings us back to the matter of choice. Love is not what you feel. Forgiving is not doing what comes naturally. It is often said, "You can't help what you feel." We therefore ask, does the choice to love involve repressing or denying our feelings? No. Repression is almost never a good thing to do. But love is a conscious choice to forgive—even if you don't feel like it! If you wait until you feel it, you probably never will forgive. You must do it because it is right, because of a choice you have made that is not based on your feelings.

The paradox in total forgiveness is that it simultaneously involves selfishness and unselfishness. It is selfish—in that you do not want to hurt yourself by holding on to bitterness. And it is unselfish in that you commit yourself to the well-being of your enemy! You could almost say that total forgiveness is both extreme selfishness and extreme unselfishness. You are looking out for your own interests when you totally forgive, but you are totally setting your offender free.

Even the non-Christian understands the benefits of forgiveness in a physical and emotional sense. This surely leaves all of us without excuse. If a non-Christian is able to forgive others, how much more should the Christian follow a lifestyle of forgiveness?

As Christians we have no choice. We forfeit our fellowship with God and blessings here below when we don't forgive. If we have been forgiven of all our sins—and this includes even the sins we have forgotten about—how dare we withhold this from others?

Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Hillary Clinton

    What if Hillary Clinton Wins the White House?

    Polls have Mrs. Clinton leading by 11 points. The church must be prepared.

  • Holy Spirit prophetic

    7 Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

    Too many of God's people are led by fear, doubt, man-pleasing, presumption, assumption, idols ...

  • Jezebel puppets

    10 Ways to Spot Jezebel's Spiritually Slick Undercover Con Artists

    It's time to stop tolerating Jezebel in all its many manifestations.

  • Highway exit signs

    Prophetic Word: Watch for the Exit Signs to Light Up This Season

    Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty in the harvest fields. The "barnyard anointing" ...

  • Lance Wallnau

    Lance Wallnau Is on Fire and on Target With His Insights on the Culture and This Election

    I'm sickened by the self-righteous, weak-kneed "evangelicals" who want to be liked by ...

  • In October, many things will be realigned in your life, including your vision.

    5 Prophetic Revelations About God's October Surprise

    "The winds of apostolic change are blowing across the land and realigning you."

  • Step into the rhythm of the Holy Spirit to find abundant life.

    Why Many Christians Never Taste the Abundant Life Jesus Promised

    Joyce lost 90 lbs. without dieting after the Holy Spirit revealed this strategy for wholeness.

  • London landing

    Urgent Prophecy: London Is the Landing Page

    The Lord continued to give me downloads about the deeper meaning and even strategy for the ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit