How exactly DO you love your enemies? Do you give the man coming at you with a knife a big hug? And how are you supposed to bless them that curse you? Just say “oh bless you, my children” to the people lighting the fire under the stake they’ve tied you on? Seriously! Put this in a real-world perspective, WHAT does it all mean? Throw away the empty feelings, the hypocrisy you’ve always heard, and demand a REAL ANSWER from the Bible! An answer that you can apply to YOUR enemies, in OUR time! Something that you can use to make your life different NOW!
So HOW can you love your enemies? How do you SHOW it? HOW do you “bless” those that curse you – what do you actually DO to bless them? Everyone on Earth knows that “good Christians” are supposed to “bless them that curse you”. And I’ve known tons of people who said “this person stole from me, but I blessed them!” – or “that person lied to me, but I loved him anyway”. I’m sure you have too – but you know that those people were HYPOCRITES! They didn’t LOVE that enemy – they were still steamed over whatever it was they had done to them!
Does loving your enemies mean you just prattle on about someone’s sins against you, but then conclude with “but I forgave him!”… ? That’s what pretty much anyone in the world would tell you. But that’s not true! The Bible says “Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:” (Proverbs 25:9), so if you’re talking to someone about someone else’s sin against you, you’re ALREADY not following the command of God to talk to your neighbor by himself, and you are NOT loving your enemies, nor blessing them that cursed you!
And as a quick example to show that loving your enemies is NOT what the ENTIRE world today believes, let’s look at how David “blessed” his enemies!
Psalms 140:9-10 As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
Those that compassed David about were his enemies! And David – a man after God’s own heart – prayed that burning coals of fire fall upon them, and that they be cast into deep pits (graves) and not rise up again! And that was a BLESSING for those enemies!
But before we can dig into this, we have to explain what the word “bless” means. Today, we use an empty husk of what it means to bless, and think we are fulfilling God’s command. No one has a clue what the word means. But it’s really quite simple.
Numbers 23:8, 20 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? … Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
It is God who ultimately must provide the blessings and the cursings; Baalam told us clearly that he could not curse someone whom God had not already cursed. Likewise, we cannot bless someone whom God is not willing to bless. And yet God told us to “bless them that curse us”. Clearly, since they are cursing (presumably) righteous people wrongfully, and accusing them of things they have not done (Matthew 5:11), they are not doing right themselves, and therefore do not DESERVE a blessing. And yet, we are told to bless them anyway. So how do we do that, exactly?
Genesis 49:25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
When God was “blessing” Joseph, through his father Isaac, he promised him blessings OF things. Not just a general “oh, bless you Joseph”, but an actual blessing of GOODS. An ACTION that would take place on God’s part that would provide good things for Joseph, which we see fulfilled today in the wealth of the American and Western European peoples. But a blessing requires ACTION!
Psalms 62:4 They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.
All those “good Christians” who say “bless you this” and “bless you that” all the time, and DO NOTHING to bless that person, are blessing only WITH THEIR MOUTH! And often they are inwardly thinking something entirely DIFFERENT from a blessing. Empty blessings like this are worse than worthless!
James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; [in other words… “Bless you!”] notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; WHAT DOTH IT PROFIT? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
A blessing without WORKS is DEAD! As for the exact definition of a blessing, we find it in this scripture:
1 Chronicles 17:26-27 And now, LORD, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant: Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O LORD, and it shall be blessed for ever.
So David is saying that God promised this “goodness” and is going to “bless” David’s house. In short, blessing someone is doing good for them. You can plug that definition into every time “bless” is used in the Bible and it fits perfectly, which is the key test of any definition. For instance:
Deuteronomy 28:12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
So with that definition in mind, we can go back to the subject at hand and ask how we are to bless those that curse us. We have plenty of examples in the New Testament of Paul ASKING for, or wishing for, or praying for blessings on people – but that’s not the same. That’s ASKING for a blessing (from God), but not GIVING a blessing. There is an important difference!
When God blesses, it’s God’s work; God can heal someone, give you money, a happy family, or whatever. But that’s between that person and God. If I ask God to bless you, I’m still pretty much out of the loop – God is where the blessing comes from, not me. But God commanded me, PERSONALLY to bless someone. That is different!
He didn’t command me to ask HIM to bless them! He commanded ME to bless them! And there is where most people go wrong!
A blessing is something GOOD you do FOR someone. Now what can you do that is GOOD for someone who is your enemy – someone who hates you, stole from you, or lied to you? And why does God bring it up at all?
We are basically selfish. We want our own way, and our nature bitterly resents someone hurting us – even if it was unintentional or if we hurt them first. And so when someone hurts us, we want REVENGE! We want PAYBACK!
Proverbs 24:29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
We want what we call justice. Whether it is justice or not is irrelevant. But we want to reward them according to their works, and do to them what they did to you. But God said not to do that.
Matthew 5:43 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;
And so how do we do that? We do good to them that hate us. But then how do we explain places where David prayed that his enemies would break their teeth (Psalms 58:6)? Or where Paul pronounced a double curse on all those who taught a false gospel (Galatians 1:8-9)? How do we square that with loving our enemies and blessing those that curse us?
Think about this; we know that blessing is just doing good for someone. What is the most good you could do for anyone? The absolute MOST good? Not feeding the hungry, or fluffing pillows for the elderly, or giving money to the guy stealing from you – how can you REALLY help them?
Teach them to be more like God. Get them closer to God so that God can be closer to them. What could possibly help – and therefore, bless – them more? Because whoever continues IN THE LAW is blessed – good things happen to him!
Psalms 119:1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
So if you want to REALLY bless someone, MAKE THEM WALK IN THE LAW OF THE LORD – however, and whatever, it takes to do that! Make them undefiled in their works – in the best, most efficient way you can! Sometimes that’s just turning the other cheek; sometimes it’s rebuking someone, telling them how wrong they are! Sometimes it’s calling them a son of the devil (John 8:44)… and sometimes it’s as simple as something physical:
Exodus 23:5 If thou see the ass of him that HATETH THEE lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
This is a great REAL example. There are so few of those that bring these empty platitudes into the REAL world. Blessing someone is as simple as doing what is best for him – and inevitably, that will come back to SOMEHOW getting him closer to keeping the law. So what we have here is really nothing more than the ultimate fulfillment of the Golden Rule;
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Blessing your enemy is about doing this, EVEN TO YOUR ENEMY! About doing whatever is best for HIM, regardless of what he is doing to you, or how you feel about him! Cast that aside, and ask yourself what is BEST for him, and then do it – irrespective of whether he is lying to you, or throwing you to the lions. This is truly the foundation, the true essence, of all the law and the prophets.
Blessing Your Enemy is doing whatever is best FOR HIM – regardless of how you, personally, feel about him. You want to punish him, hurt him, get vengeance for what he did to you – but if you’re going to be a child of God, you have to get beyond that and help him, care for him, or correct him, just as if you were taking care of your best friend!
Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Whether that means treating him as a publican and having no company with him, cursing him with boils, rebuking him for his sins, or helping his donkey down the road. If you can’t do that to your enemy, then you are not a mature Christian. And if you can’t at least acknowledge that it’s true, and that it’s how you SHOULD act, you’re not a Christian at all!
Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
It’s EASY to love those that love us! It’s EASY to help the guy who fed you when you were destitute! It’s NOT easy to feed the guy who REFUSED to feed you when you were destitute! But God says YOU MUST!
Verse 33-35 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And … sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, …
Big DEAL if you take care of people who take care of you! People who are carnal as dogs do that – come to think of it, DOGS do that! But you have to rise above that. Ask yourself how you’d treat yourself if you were in your enemies shoes; what you’d do to help yourself if that was you. Then do it to him. If you do that, you will seldom make the wrong choice…
Ephesians 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
So let’s wrap this up; do you want to bless someone? Help them get closer to God. That can mean take a lot of different forms, because different people need different things done to them to get closer to God. But THAT will bless them like nothing else can. And treat them as if you’d treat yourself, no matter what they’ve done to you.
Romans 13:9-10 …Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Love simply means obeying the commandments. And loving your friendly neighbor like you love yourself is not easy. But it’s a first step, a step that even carnal people in this world figure out to some extent. But obeying the commandments in dealing with those who hate you, and actively try to harm you… and treating them with the same concern you would treat your sweetheart… that’s the test of a true Christian.
So don’t use meaningless empty phrases like “God bless you” to bless your enemies. That doesn’t fulfill God’s command, it just appeases your conscience and makes you feel good about yourself. Instead, really BLESS THEM – and God will pick up the slack and pay you back for the wrong they’ve done you. But don’t take it upon yourself to mete out their punishment…
Romans 12:17-20 Recompense to no man evil for evil. … Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Because God says “Payback is mine!”. And do you REALLY want to steal from God? And think about it this way – do you really think you can do a better job of paying this person back than God can?
Bottom line; God said to bless them; He didn’t say to ask HIM to bless them for you. It’s your job to be a shining light in this world, even among the people who hate you. It’s your job to be an example for them. It’s His job to take care of you while you do that, and He’ll see to it that you get by just fine.
Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.