Q. Loving our enemies is one of the toughest of demands that we are bid to do. Often we are total failures when we must love our enemies, those who have wronged us in some way, and often they are even professing to be Christians. When we are to love our enemies, how are we to do it ? From a distance, or openly for all to see ?
A. I think the basic idea is to avoid repaying evil with evil, because that makes us just as bad (Romans 12:17). We are not to harbor resentment or anger toward someone either, because that’s a sin and only does harm to ourselves (Eph 4:26-27).
Personally I’ve found that asking the Lord to forgive the person who has harmed me is a good way to get rid of my anger or resentment. How can I stay angry with someone I’ve asked the Lord to forgive? I ask Him to forgive my anger as well, even when I think it’s justified.
If we choose to pray for those things even though we don’t feel like it, pretty soon the Lord will align our feelings with our choices and we’ll have peace. This is called making faith choices, and helps us fulfill the commandment to forgive one another as He has forgiven us (Matt 6:12).
There’s no need to publicly humiliate ourselves before our enemies. But if the opportunity arises to perform an act of kindness we should take it, knowing that we’re being obedient to the Lord. This makes pleasing Him our motive, and makes the other person’s reaction irrelevant.
Remember, our goal is always to allow ourselves to be a channel through which the Lord can express His love to the world around us.