I am commanded to love my enemy. But how do I do this? There is the danger that my enemy will destroy or harm me. Some practical examples of loving my enemy can be found in the Old Testament. They are: give help when needed, don’t retaliate, and pray for peace.
I must protect myself against attack. Self defense is necessary and honorable. When I am not in danger, I can begin to do good things for my enemy. If I have a dispute with my neighbor, I can will him good and return his pet dog who has wandered into my property. If my enemy is hungry or thirsty, I can give him food and water. If I am afraid, I can protect myself and offer help at the same time by sending the food under the door.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. Proverbs 25:21
“If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. Exodus 23:4-5
Elisha caused the King of Syria to be blinded and led him on a wild goose chase. Finally he took him to the palace of the king of Israel. After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?” “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 2 Kings 6:20-22
Yahweh Shalom, Help me to love my enemy by offering him food or water. May there be peace between me and anyone who hates me. Amen.
David was hounded and pursued by the army of Saul. But when David had an opportunity to kill Saul, he refused. I can love my enemy by not retaliating against him when I have the upper hand.
With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way. Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 1 Samuel 24:7-11
Pray for peace
As a peacemaker, I pray for peace. I pray for peace between me and my neighbors. I pray for peace among nations. I pray for peace between warring peoples. I pray for peace within my own heart. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:6-8
Yahweh Shalom, I pray for peace. I ask you to bless my enemy and show him your salvation. May there be peace in Jerusalem and all Israel. May there be peace between Israel and her warring enemies. May there be peace in Lebanon. May there be peace in Syria. May there be peace in Iraq. May there be peace in Iran. May there be peace in Yemen. May there be peace in Ukraine. May there be peace in Russia. May there be peace in China. May there be peace in North Korea. May there be peace in America. May there be peace in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. May there be peace in all the world. Amen.