5 Ways To Turn Your Enemies Into Your Friends
Here are some simple ways to turn your enemies into your friend.
The Enemies of God
We should remember that at one time we were enemies of God (Rom 5:10) but “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8) and now “we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:9). For the children of God, it is written that “No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble” (Prov 12:21). For those who have repented and trusted in Christ “The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (Psalm 121:7). We might have enemies but think about their fate on the day where Christ judges the world in righteousness (Rev 20:12-15). You wouldn’t wish that on anyone, would you? When people treat you badly because you’re a believer, understand that we were once like they are now and “at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8).
Every one of us has enemies, don’t we? Maybe you don’t even know it but if you share the gospel and live a life of holiness, you will probably make enemies but the wisdom of Solomon says that “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov 16:7) so at least part of our effort to make our enemies our friends is to live a life that pleases God and that means a life of obedience to what Jesus’ taught. It didn’t matter if it were the Egyptian’s who were harsh slaveholders to Israel because God said that “I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, (Ex 3:21). The Apostle Peter asks, “who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good” (1st Pet 3:13)?
Forgive One Another
The Bible teaches us that we are to forgive one another because we’ve been forgiven for so much (Matt 6:14-15; 1st John 1:9) so why not try to talk to the person in private and ask them what you might have done to make them become your enemy. Don’t respond in the same way that they talk to you. Try to speak in a quiet, calm voice. If you feel you’re getting nowhere, then tell them “Thank you for your time” and walk away. We can’t make someone forgive us but we can live a life that pleases God and pray for the Holy Spirit to convict them. Paul, as Saul, was an archenemy of the church and was converted on the Damascus Road so even the worst enemies of Christians can become their greatest missionaries. That’s the way God works.
Pray for you Enemies
What is one of the hardest things for a Christian to do? Pray for those who hate you and despise you and ridicule you for your faith. Jesus tells us that this is exactly what we must do for those who hate us. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:44-45; “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” It sounds easy but it isn’t. Jesus says that “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same’ (Matt 5:46) meaning, we’re not different from the world if we only love our own and not our enemies. We should pray for our enemies but also love them. It should not matter if they “revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” because “your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:11-12).
Responding to Evil by Doing Good
Since we know that we’re to love our enemies and pray for them, Jesus takes it even further by saying “to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27) and “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:28). This means no matter how they treat you, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31) so “love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35) and “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). The Apostle Paul seems to quote Jesus as he writes “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” (Rom 12:14) and make sure to “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Rom 12:17) and as much as “possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18). Paul’s point is, “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:19) but, “to the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head” (Rom 12:20).
When we treat those who hate us, who persecute us, who despise us, and verbally abuse us we must love them, pray for them, and do good to them. Do they deserve it? No, but neither did we deserve God’s grace but He gave it to us anyway. Talk about confusing your enemies! Just love them and treat them with respect and dignity, even if they don’t treat us this way. Think about how those who hate us and treat us badly will face God’s judgment someday (Rev 21:8) so follow Jude’s advice who wrote, “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (Jude 1:22-23). We must understand that it’s normal for the world to hate us since “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires” (Jude 1:18). Remember that we are no better than they are and that at one time, “such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1st Cor 6:11).
Article by Pastor Jack Wellman