Eugene Cho

what does it mean to love your enemy?

I saw this video recently and it mesmerized me. It’s an incredibly simple video but I needed to watch it several times to better understand and interpret it.

But it brought me back to the question,

“What does it mean to love your enemies?”

The Scriptures are clear and Jesus is clear that we are to forgive our enemies…

  • But how?
  • In every circumstance?
  • How do you ensure justice and still love your enemies?

For me…

while the process may look different for different people and different circumstances, forgiveness is me arriving at a place where I want my “enemy” to prosper and be blessed in the shalom of the Lord.

I would honestly love to hear and learn from you. How do you forgive?

Luke 6:27-36

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 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. 35 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Matthew 5:43-48

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[b] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that 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. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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21 Responses

  1. Thank you for the post. Absolutely beautiful video. Thanks for sharing.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Chan, Christian Ray Flores. Christian Ray Flores said: check this out I saw this video recently and it mesmerized me. It’s an incredibly simple video but I … http://bit.ly/bFTzmM by Eugene Cho […]

  3. James says:

    “What does it mean to love your enemies?”

    I think we are supposed to love our enemies at all times. I’m pretty sure, for instance, that loving your enemies doesn’t ever involve shooting them.

    “How do you ensure justice and still love your enemies?”

    I think the most Christ-centric, Biblical approach, is to love all, and serve all, and let God handle the dealing out of justice.

  4. jchenwa says:

    To me, it means not returning evil for evil, but good for evil (and never evil for good!) Seeing your ‘enemies’ not as the enemy, but as someone who needs love and stuff – usually your stuff. Responding in this way, is Jesus’ Way and defies normal ideas of justice. But in my experience needs to be done prayerfully, because people can be merciless, and GOD doesn’t want you naked, hungry, out on the street either.

  5. …Love your enemy
    …Bless your enemy
    …Pray for your enemy
    …Do good to your enemy

    This is the beautiful and counter cultural message of the word of God. In our present day I think this is one of the messages that is the most difficult and overlooked.

    Today we (I) am more comfortable with

    …tolerate your enemy
    …curse your enemy
    …pray that your enemy will get what’s coming
    …ignore your enemy

    A good challenge for us to remember/realize our response to our enemy should be one of Proactive love. Proactive. Love.

    (In view of Gods mercy Romans 12:1)

  6. Joel Mayward says:

    I remember showing this video about a year ago to the group of junior highers I shepherd. I asked them afterwards, “who is your enemy?” They answered in generalities–adults, the media–and specifics–the bully in class, the girl who gossips about me.

    We all wondered aloud what we would have done if we were the stick figure on the right, the one pelted by rocks. Most said they would have either thrown rocks back or ran away (fight or flight, I suppose). Then I asked them how Jesus responded to His enemies when sinful humanity rejected and crucified Him.

    He forgave them.

    That takes humility and courage, seeing other people through the gracious eyes of Jesus. Loving your enemies begins with forgiveness.

  7. […] found out about this video on Eugene Cho’s blog. I thought it was pretty cool and a powerful way to jump start a conversation with children on […]

  8. Henry Zonio says:

    Great video! I definitely sharing it on my blog as something to use in children’s ministry to help children along the discovery process of what “loving your enemy” means.

    But as for your question… I heard someone say once that loving your enemy is giving up your perceived right to revenge. Within that context, it doesn’t mean that you usurp justice or “forget” what is done.

  9. Don Ibbitson says:

    I think that to love your enemies as Jesus commands begins with the same process as one forgives them. That is, we purpose and choose to love just like we choose to forgive out of our will. We cannot base forgiveness on how we feel and in like manner I suggest that we cannot base biblical love on our emotions. It is easy to love our family and friends and it is often emotion-based. Our love for our enemies, just as for friends and family, must result in loving actions.

  10. phyllisalyse says:

    eugene, thanks for sharing – what a great reminder. not just for dealing with enemies but even those already near and dear to our hearts.

  11. CC says:

    How do you resolve this with justification for war? As christians if we are to love our enemies does that mean we should oppose wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc…? Wars that were triggered by attacks on the US?
    Not an argument for any particular side, but a question on consistency. Can we love our enemies and support a war at the same time?

    • DR says:

      I do not believe there is any justification for war. I base this simply off of the example of Jesus. Jesus is fully God just as He was fully man. Despite, or because of, His God-nature/power, He freely sacrificed Himself in the face of animosity and hatred.

      Therefore, as Christians, I believe we are called to transcend violence in every circumstance. How can we love our enemy, and yet, go to war against said enemy? It is a contradiction. Christians, I believe, are also called to transcend nationalism. Jesus did not preach the Kingdom of [insert country name]. He preached the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of the Maker-of-All-That-Is-Seen-and-Unseen. I believe this leaves little room for nationalistic tendencies.

      As MLK Jr. explained, however, non-violence and love for your neighbor does not mean passivity. Quite the opposite! To respond to any situation in a loving and non-violent manner requires greater effort than resorting to violence!

      Lastly, as a believer in Christ’s resurrection and ascension, and (hopefully) my resurrection and life in the Kingdom to come, I believe I am called to recklessly and radically live a life of love, even if that requires placing my earthly life at risk. Why? Because I have faith that there is a life to come after this present life ends, and my devotion to love must witness to that fundamental Christian belief.

      I wish Christians were more consistent when it comes to Jesus’ message of love your enemy. There are, unfortunately, many other influences that get in the way of committing to this principle.

      Just as many Christians heckle politicians to ensure federal monies do not go to support abortions, I wish I could ensure the taxes I pay do not go to supporting our country’s industrial military complex. I seriously worry about being collectively held accountable by God as to how our tax dollars are spent.

  12. Josh Roberts says:

    Great post Eugene. These thoughts have been on my mind as well. I recently concluded a series at our faith community on the 7 Deadly Sins. When preparing to speak on the sin of wrath, I was reminded how often we want to get even when we feel we have been wronged.

    We may not always act out on these desires, but we sure do think about pouring out our wrath.

    Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 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.” Romans 12:19-20 (ESV)

    When I choose my wrath over his, I’m saying to God that I know how to deal with this person more effectively than he does. When I choose my wrath over his, I lake the faith that God will take care of the situation.

  13. […] the video. Have them imagine themselves in both roles. Read Luke 6:27-36 and/or Matthew 5:43-48 (HT:EC). Have the kids tell you what they think Jesus is saying in those verses and how those verses might […]

  14. Jess O says:

    Thanks for blessing me with your writings.

    Please help a fellow believer raise some money by surfing on over to http://www.hybridhondas.com and clicking on a few of the sponsored links that interest you.

  15. […] seriously it’s hard to love your enemies when you can’t even hear what they’re […]

  16. […]  it’s hard to love your enemies when you can’t even hear what they’re saying… So, listen first. And don’t throw […]

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One Day’s Wages

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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

Be faithful.

PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

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#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
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