Ten Ways to Bless an Enemy (Welch)

A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace

Many Christians know those verses in Scripture that call us to do good to our enemies and to people who hate us. Jesus said we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Mt. 5:44). He also told us to bless people who curse us (Lk. 6:28). The Apostles echoed these teachings of Jesus. Peter wrote that we should not repay evil for evil, but instead we should bless (1 Pet. 3:8). Paul firmly agreed (Rom. 12:14. 17).

What are some ways we can put these teachings into practice? How can we bless people who hate us? How can we show love to someone who is cruel? Below is a brief devotional by Ed Welch. It helps us think about how to bless our enemies.

Since we rarely have true enemies who are committed to curse us, think about those you temporarily put in the enemy camp. Some have inconvenienced you. Some have wronged you.

The ultimate goal is to bless. This means that we want to help them in their relationship with God by displaying God’s character — this is what is in their best interest. We want to speak to them the way God speaks to us. This is for their good and it is also for our good.

Here are examples of how to bless someone who is not blessing you. Humility and gentleness run through the list. Boldness also appears.

  1. Judge yourself first. Do you have any desires that have become selfish desires? What are they? Confession is the way to rein in needs and selfish desires so they become wants and desires.
  2. Do not retaliate.
  3. If you see any way that you have wrong person, ask forgiveness.
  4. If you don’t know what provoked the other person, ask how you have wronged him or her.
  5. Use gentle words (Prov. 15:1). For example, “I am so sorry that there are tensions in our relationship. What could I do to help?” They could be strengthened: “You seem to be declaring war against me. Could we talk about it?”
  6. Consider the unjust servant as a way to remind you of your reasons for blessing your enemy (Mt. 18:23-35). You have received mercy rather than judgment. Now you want to pass it on.
  7. Ask someone to help you think of ways to bless the other person and to pray for you.
  8. Enemies have also been wounded. Are you aware of any hardships in the other person’s life? If you are familiar with these hardships, let your compassion be aroused and express your sorrow to him or her.
  9. You can bless the other person by either overlooking the offense (Prov. 19:11) or identifying the offense. Which would be most helpful? If you choose to identify it, you might begin, “Could we talk about what happened to the other day?” If the person refuses? “Then when can we talk?” If the person refuses again, ask a wise person for help.
  10. If you can’t think of anything, or your attempts have been ineffective keep praying. Ask the Spirit to give you deeper insight into what to do and the strength to do it. And ask a wise person for help.

What would you add?

The above quotes are found on pages 127-129 of A Small Book About A Big Problem.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

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