DEFINITION: An enemy is one towards whom you are antagonistic, hostile, and unforgiving. It is someone that you also may be seeking to injure or threaten. You may also try to ruin the reputation of an enemy through slander, gossip, and lies.
FACTS ABOUT ENEMIES:
The Word of God teaches you not to become bitter, hostile, or vengeful toward another person. You might not like what others do or say, but you must love them and extend forgiveness to them, just as God extended it to you.
Satan is the source of all contention. The Bible explains that “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Your struggle is against the evil forces that cause a person to react in such a way that you consider them an enemy.
The proper response to contention. The Fruit of the Holy Spirit, qualities that are to be evident in the lives of believers, provide the answer to contention. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-23).
You are commanded to love and pray for your enemies. “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” (Matthew 5:46-47).
God can cause your enemies to be at peace with you. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7 ).
DEALING WITH YOUR ENEMIES:
Examine your heart. If you have hatred, anger, unforgiveness, or bitterness towards someone, then you are not responding biblically to your enemies. Are the feelings and attitudes you have towards this person Christ-like? What caused the break in the relationship? Did you have a part in it? What is the other person’s attitude towards you?
Pray for forgiveness. Not only for your own attitude towards your enemy, but pray to forgive your enemy also. As a mature believer, the obligation to forgive and initiate reconciliation rests with you. You can do this because the Bible declares you can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Go to your enemy and try to reconcile. You cannot control their response, but you can ask forgiveness and seek to reconcile with them. If they refuse, then you have the satisfaction of knowing you have acted scripturally. Follow the guidelines in Matthew 18:15-17.
Love and pray for your enemies. Jesus commanded this in Matthew 5:43-48.
Pray for the Fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in your life towards your enemy: Love, goodness, kindness, meekness, patience, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23).
Cast down vain imaginations. Vain imaginations are unproductive thoughts and imaginations. When Satan tries to return and instill unforgiveness or bitterness towards the person once again, cast these thoughts down in the name of the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:5).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ENEMIES:
He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. (Psalm 18:47-48)
When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.(Proverbs 16:7)
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him. (Proverbs 24:17-18)
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)
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 sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22-35)
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25,26)
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.(Luke 6:27-36)
“So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.'” (Luke 17:3-4)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14-21)
(See also “Forgiveness and Reconciliation” in this database.)