Unlimited: Caring for Your Enemy
Aug 23, 2023 165
On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink (Romans 12:20a).
Paul is referring to how we should respond when we are wronged. Paul has just told us in the previous verse to not take revenge on our enemies. However now he tells us that our love for our enemies is not merely to be passive – in not taking revenge – but active. He tells us to feed and care for our enemies. This is shocking to the carnal mind.
What Paul is telling here echoes the teaching of Jesus:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven (Matt 5:43-45a).
Love for your enemy is not merely to be passive – in not taking revenge – but active.
The last phrase, “that you may be children of your Father in heaven” is an echo of what Christ says a few verses later, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (v.48.)
This suggests to us that the highest perfection of God, and the greatest way in which we can reflect that we are his children, is when we love those who are the most unlovable in our lives: our enemies.
That is precisely what our God did, for
…while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son… (Rom. 5:10.)
Think carefully: Is there someone who could be described as your enemy? Put into practice the teaching of Scripture. Do something kind for that person, without any expectation of reward or a change in attitude.