“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
If you serve the LORD for any length of time, and if you stand for truth, you will find that you will have enemies who will attack and malign you. In the verse above, God shows that how you treat your enemies is what makes you different from others. It is easy to treat people who do you right in a good way, but to treat your enemies right makes you different from most people, and even most believers. It is a natural and fleshly instinct to retaliate towards our enemies, but it is God’s power working through the believer that causes the believer to respond in the right manner. In the verses above, God shows four actions that you must take if you are going to stand out among people as a person who makes a difference.
First, God says you are to “love your enemies.” Let me simply say that you can’t take the enemy’s attack personally. Though their attacks are personal, you must realize that their attacks are the result of sin controlling them. When the enemies of Christ attacked Him, He still died for their sins. When Judas betrayed Christ, He didn’t retaliate towards him, but He called him His friend. To love people at their worst is what validates your Christianity to them and gives them the confidence that you will help them. One of the greatest needs in Christianity today is the need of God’s people loving and helping people at their worst instead of casting them out for sin to destroy them.
Second, God says to “bless them that curse you.” What do you say about people who talk about you? Are you able to find the good in people who have said bad things about you? This is one of the attributes that makes you different from others. When you have the ability to look at the whole picture and still see the good is what helps you to see that there is potential in every person. You will never be able to bring out the potential that God has placed in people if all you do is talk about their bad qualities.
Third, God says to “do good to them that hate you.” This is one of the harder things to do, but it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this attribute. When you see those who have attacked you are hurting, do you rejoice in jubilation that they are “being judged,” or do you reach out with a helping hand to help them in spite of their feelings towards you? You cannot live your life waiting for those who have viciously attacked you and maligned you to come and apologize before you help them if you expect to be a difference-maker. Difference makers are the first to reach out even though the one they are reaching out to help has done them harm. Nothing makes you more like Christ than helping those who have hurt you.
Fourth, God says to “pray for them which despitefully use you.” How do you pray for those who have hurt you? Let me bring this question one step further; do you pray for those who have hurt you? The thing that made Job such a great man was that he prayed for his friends even though they wrongfully accused him and his family. You will find that the other three attributes that God wants you to have will become a natural response when you begin to pray for those who have hurt you. It is prayer that brings these four attributes together and that allows you to be a difference-maker.