“Love Your Enemies”

“Love Your Enemies” by Reva Lachica Moore


A preacher asked his congregation, “Is there anyone here who does not have enemies?” To his surprise, an elderly man raised his hand. “Brother Dan, so you do not have any enemies?” the preacher asked.

“None, Pastor, because I outlived them all!”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone likes everybody, and nobody hates anyone? However, we live in an imperfect world and no matter what, there will always be those who will not like you or me and those who would even hate us.

My son Adam called the other day to tell an amazing story. Since he was young, Adam would always ask for prayer for people and for situations.

“Mom, you will not believe what is happening. I have a co-worker who hates me so much and always talks bad about me, which I do not understand. I have not done anything bad to him. I have always been nice to him. I have tried to ignore his belittling remarks and gossips about me but sometimes, it gets to me. I tell you, I started to hate him, too. So, I started praying for him and continued to be nice. Well, in the past months, this man went through a lot of stress. He got very depressed. I kept praying for him and then I started to tell him about Jesus and that only He could take care of his problems. He started to listen and now we are good friends. Every day, he is ready to hear what I have to say. He seems so hungry to hear encouraging words. He is happy again. I really believe that we should pray for our enemies and do good to them who hate us.”

Romans 12:20 says….Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

Difficult people tend to bring out the worst in us in all situations. And so, to love an enemy is very hard to do. We definitely cannot do it unless we ask Jesus for His help.

Feeding the hungry does not necessarily mean only giving food literally to a person. It could also mean feeding him with encouraging words and giving that person our love. Paul says that if we give food and drink to our enemies, we will be heaping “coals of fire on their heads.” At first, I did not understand the meaning of this because I did not understand what “heaping coals on his head” meant. This didn’t sound like forgiveness to me, but more like taking vengeance – as in pouring hot coals on someone’s head.

So, I continued to study more.

During the Bible times, almost everything is carried on the head – water jugs, baskets of fruits, vegetables, other things. Even fire inside an urn is carried on the head. There is a person in every village who tended a fire all night, making hot coals. Each morning this person would load up the coals into an urn and put the urn on his head and go from house to house and give the woman of the house enough coals to start her fire – for cooking as well as for warmth.

Therefore, when we feed an enemy or give him drink, it is like giving him live coals – which means food, warmth, and almost life itself – a symbol of utmost generosity, thus melting that person’s hardened heart into kindness.

If we treat our enemies with love, our Heavenly Father will reward us for our efforts, for God does not miss anything. He looks at all that we do, and He is not too busy to see every good thing that we do, especially for Him and for others.

Matthew 5:44 says…..But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.