23 Inspiring Love Your Enemies Bible Verses

The Love Your Enemies Bible verse is a reflection of Jesus’ radical response to injustice. By loving and praying for our enemies, we can overcome evil with good.

The Bible tells us again and again to love. We are taught to love God and our neighbors. There is no problem with that, right? But then, Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us or hurt us. Why should we love our enemies? Why should we repay evil with good? These Bible verses can shed some light on these questions.

What is the Context of the Love Your Enemies Bible Verse?

Love Your Enemies Bible Verse In Matthew 5:44

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

The Gospels were originally letters that the early churches passed on to each other. Matthew’s primary focus in his letters, his target audience, is Jewish Christians. They have gone through a lot. They are experiencing a lot of persecution because they are viewed by a lot of people as a cult. A lot of evil things might be happening to them in those days.

We would understand if they consider these people as their enemies, but still, Matthew reminds them of what Jesus said about our enemy. To love our enemies and pray for them.

Love Your Enemies Bible Verse in Luke 6:27

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6:27)

Luke’s audience is mostly Gentiles, which means that they are not Jews. They were not originally part of God’s chosen people, but because of God’s love, they have been given the right to be called children of God. 

Luke’s tone and focus are leaning more towards peace. To obtain peace, we should be willing to make peace with each other, including our enemies. Luke reminds the Gentiles that the Lord wants those that follow Him to bless, love, and pray for those that disagree with them. Love should go first and foremost, especially in the presence of evil.

Bible Characters Who Showed Love to their Enemies

David

“This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave, and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.” (1 Samuel 24:10)

Have you ever been happy doing your own thing and even excelling at it, but then some people became consumed by envy? And because of this, they made it their mission to make your life miserable? This pretty much sums up David’s relationship with King Saul. King Saul was the first king of Israel, and he was pretty good at it. But then the time came when he lost God’s favor. The Lord then sent Samuel to anoint David to be the next king of Israel while Saul was still alive. 

David proceeded to accomplish great things with God’s help. This all happened without a tiny bit of malice from David. He was just doing what needs to be done, and what God tells him to do. Because of this, David started having a lot of admirers. This triggered King Saul’s insecurities.

He believed that David would kill him to become king. 

He decided to kill David instead. 1 Samuel 24 tells us about the time when David got Saul alone in a cave, unaware. He could have killed him right there and then. His men have even urged him to do so. Instead, he cut off a piece of Saul’s robe to show him that he had no intentions of killing him.

David refused because Saul is one of God’s chosen people. David refused to harm someone who made him their enemy. He even called Saul his father. He did nothing wrong to Saul, and yet he got nothing but grief for it. When David had the chance to get back at Saul, he chose compassion and forgiveness.

Loving your enemies or at least showing them compassion is not simple nor easy. It is equally hard to bless those who persecute us. But our Father in heaven has taught us to love our enemies or at least those who consider us their enemies even for no apparent reason.

Jesus

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus went about doing good to all. He healed the sick, dined with tax collectors, freed those under the influence of the evil spirits, rebuked those who have been blinded, and those that are being hypocrites. Jesus made everyone better after each encounter. And yet, people hated Him for it. They even screamed for His death in front of Pilate.

People cheered when Jesus was whipped to an inch of His life. They shouted taunts at Him while He was carrying the cross to Golgotha. They looked at Him with satisfaction, while He hung on the cross. But throughout all this, Jesus said “Father forgive them.” Luke 23:34 is a prayer by Jesus himself.

Bible experts say that Jesus prayed this over and over again. While He was being whipped, He prayed for their forgiveness. When He was being made to carry His cross, He prayed. With each time the hammer pounds the nails deeper into His hands and feet, He prayed for their forgiveness. These people considered Him their enemy, but He showed them love instead. Jesus who never did anything wrong was wronged, and He prayed for them to be forgiven.

Stephen

“Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:60)

Have you ever been a victim of malicious rumors and gossip? Maybe it hurt your reputation, ruined your trust in people? In this case, this is actually what led to Stephen’s death. Many people consider Stephen the first martyr of the early church. The early church chose him to be one of the leaders after Jesus died.

It is said that Stephen performed great signs and wonders. He was faithful to the Lord to the end. But, some people did not like the influence he had on people, so they asked some people to spread lies about him. The people brought him to the Sanhedrin, the equivalent of a judge. They brought false witnesses that told even more lies. Stephen delivered a powerful sermon. When the people heard this, they got even angrier.

This angered the people so much that they decided to drag Stephen outside the city to stone him to death. Stoning in those days did not include throwing pebbles and rocks at people. They threw boulders at people. It was slow and painful. Stephen stared evil straight in the eye, and with his last breath, he prayed for God to forgive these people.

Important Things to Remember About Loving Our Enemies

It is temporary

Proverbs 16:7

“When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.”

God can make our enemies our friends. We can also decide to do that on our own and we can make peace with them. Also, we can choose to obey Jesus’ new commandment to love each other. We can choose to bless those who persecute us. We can overcome our enemies by turning them into our friends.

The point is that we do not have to have enemies. It is not permanent. No matter how evil the things they do are, no matter how much they persecute us, no matter how much they curse and hate us, we can always choose how to respond. And each time, you can choose to love your enemies and pray for those who wish you harm.

It used to be our place with God

Romans 5:9

“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

We were once God’s enemies because of our sin. Now let us look at how God chose to respond. He could have killed us all so easily. God could have at least made us suffer. He could have abandoned us. Instead, He abandoned His throne and came to save us. Instead of considering us His enemies, He gathered us in His arms and saved us. We can always choose to do the same.

It will bring joy to God and us

Luke 6:32-35

“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 children of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

We are supposed to go against the ways of the world. God teaches us that if our enemies are thirsty, give them water. God teaches us that if our enemy is hungry, give him food to eat even to those who hate us. If the world teaches us to keep our enemies as enemies, God wants us to feel his great love for us and let others experience it too.

Love is the most powerful thing in the world but nothing destroys like hate. God always has and always will want the best for us. God sacrificed so much so that we may be sons and daughters of God.

Loving your enemies is not easy but let us remember that the ones we consider the enemies are still children of God. The amount of love we receive from God is the same amount they also get. We are all brothers and sisters. We may fight at times but we should also learn to apologize, forgive, and makeup. Pretty soon, we will discover that living in peace is better than living with hate in our hearts.

Best Bible Verses About Loving Our Enemies

Luke 6:28

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

Matthew 5:45

“That you may be children 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.”

Proverbs 25:21-22

“If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat; and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.”

Romans 5:8

“But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”

Romans 12:14

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”

Luke 6:35-36

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Romans 12:20

“On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:21

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Ephesians 4:32

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

1 John 4:7

“Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

Proverbs 24:17

“Do not rejoice when your enemies fall and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble.”

1 Peter 3:9

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Luke 6:22-23

“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”

Leviticus 19:18

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

John 13:34

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

In Summary

These Bible verses teach us to love our enemies just as God loves them. Loving your enemies can be unimaginable and may even seem unfair at times. But we should remember that God loves all of us here on earth. As a parent, He will discipline those that misbehave, but His love will always be there. In the same way, we should love each other.

We have to pray for others and ourselves as well. We should pray for the strength to let go and forgive those that hurt us. That way, love can blossom. We are Christians, and love should be at our core. The Lord will reward us greatly. And we will be able to live peacefully and happily this way.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.