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Bible Lesson Series 1: Love Your Enemies

Updated on August 13, 2014

Every Sunday, the church I attend has Sunday school classes before regular service from 9:30am to 10:15am. Each lesson is on a different topic based on story, and lessons from the bible. We get our lessons from a study book. It’s called “Christian Life Series”, and can be found in most Christian book stores. The books are different every season and have a different lesson every Sunday.

Our classes are broken up into different age groups ranging from children age 2 to 11, teens age 12 to 18, and the women and men classes are split up for ages 19 and up. The books are split up into age groups also! You have the youth books, young adult books, and the adult books.

There is a different book for the teacher of the class as well. The different age groups help for comparing the bible to a way of life that you are familiar with. A 6 year old won’t really connect to the life story of a 16 year old and a 16 year old won’t really relate to the life story of a 60 year old.

Although the lesson is the same each week for everyone, the explanation of the lesson is different for each age group. The examples help each different group apply the lesson to their everyday lives.

I thought it would be a great idea for me to share what I learn each week, from each Sunday school lesson, for those interested. I hope you enjoy my new series.

This lesson is coming from Matthew 5:43-48 and it is titled “Loving as God’s People”. We did this lesson on 11/13/2011.

Matt. 5:43-44

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’* and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Here Jesus is speaking and he is saying, you hear people saying it’s ok to love your neighbor and hate everyone that hate you! The keyword in verse 43 is hear. Everything we hear isn’t true and isn’t what the bible tells us to do. It’s very easy to follow what we see the majority doing.

It’s easy to just hate someone because they hate you. Many people feel like they need to be accepted and they do what they see everyone else doing. There are many times where I felt like I should treat people how they treat me, instead of loving my enemies and treating them the way I want to be treated, because it seems like I’m always going to be walked over. It feels easier but every time I take revenge on people I feel horrible afterwards.

In verse 44 Jesus is telling us that loving your enemies in important and that we should pray for them that bully and harass us. The minute we decide that we are going to believe and do what the bible tells us is the minute we will start to be tested. Being a Christian doesn’t make our lives easier but it does make us better people in the end.

Jesus is the perfect example and role model for us and that is one of the reasons He came to this earth. He was persecuted on the cross and what did he do? He prayed for them, he said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

This lesson has opened my eyes to the way Jesus was persecuted for my sins and he just took it when he could have taken revenge on everyone that hurt Him.

There are still people out there that choose to hurt and harm others and that will never change and it may even get worse but our job as Christians is to continue to show love to them and be the same example to them that Jesus was for us. We need to pray for them because the way they act will only harm them in the end.

Matt. 5:45

45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

Jesus wants us to see that by loving your enemies, you are showing that you are a true child of God. Children usually act like and follow their parents. Little girls see their moms wear high heel and want to do the same.

Little boys see their dad shaving and want to do the same. As children we even want to follow the same occupation as our parents. We look up to our parents and follow the instructions they give to us. It’s important that we do the same with our heavenly Father.

God shows us unconditional love. He will not just rain on the crops of the just and withhold that same rain from the unjust. As parents we would not only feed the child that obeys what you ask of them and starve the child that disobeys your every word. We love our children no matter what they have done and we (just as God) should love our enemies and our friends the same exact way.

Matt. 5:46-47

46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

What if we just love the people that love us and only treat the people that do the right thing with respect and love? How can we be rewarded for doing basically nothing? Even thieves and murderers can be nice to those that are nice to them and mean to people that are mean to them? We are not setting ourselves apart by doing that.

If we mess up just once and hurt God would we expect Him to start ignoring us and to forget that we exist? Never! So when someone hurts us we should act as if it’s someone very dear to you or even ourselves and continue to pray for them and treating them with love and respect.

Matt. 5:48

48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

By just doing what the bible tells you and by loving your enemies we are being perfect. As humans we will never be perfect but doing what the bible tells us helps us strive to live as a perfect example to others, showing them the love of our perfect heavenly Father.


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    • KySmith profile image

      Kyndall Smith 6 years ago from Milwaukee

      @BigKirk, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I agree it is very hard to love your enemies, especially when they aggravate you. It also comforts me to know that Jesus went through what we go through today to be an example for us. It proves that whatever we go through(even though it's a great struggle sometimes) can be overcome. It's great that you continue to remind yourself that the person lashing out at you may be doing it for a deep reason and not many people understand that. Thanks again for your comment. I really enjoy getting a different perspective on the lessons I learn.

      God Bless you always as well! =)

    • BigKirk profile image

      BigKirk 6 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Very insightfull KySmith. The fundemental issue facing Christians now is the same that faced them in Jesus' time. Being called to live has a Christian means that you spend your life at odds with human nature. Unfortunately greed, violence, lust, and hate is part of human nature. What comforts me is to know that Jesus dealt with the same internal struggles that I do. Don't forget in John 2:14-15 Jesus makes a whip out of cords and drives away the sellers and money changers from the temple. You think he loved those guys in that very moment? I think he spoke about loving your enemy because he knew how hard it was. He knew that loving your enemy takes true compassion, and that is what he wanted in his followers. I try my best to love my enemies, and when confronted with a difficult person I always remind myself that I do not know what they are going through. Maybe they are lashing out at me because they are hurting, or maybe God himself is putting that person before me so that I can witness to them. Either way I pray that you will continue your strive for perfection, as I will too. God Bless you always.

    • KySmith profile image

      Kyndall Smith 6 years ago from Milwaukee

      @Donna Thanks for commenting. I agree it is so hard to pray for people who do you wrong but in the end we will be blessed and possibly we can in turn help the person who harmed us. I am so glad you pray for your Co-workers instead of taking other measures. Sometimes it's so hard to be the bigger person that we have to lean on God for strength because it's impossible to do on our own.

    • Donna Sundblad profile image

      Donna Sundblad 6 years ago from Georgia

      Praying for enemies is not easy, but it is transforming. For instance, when I've worked with someone who basically did not do their job, and it cause me problems, I started praying for them. It helped me stop complaining (which we aren't supposed to do), and changed my attitude.

    • KySmith profile image

      Kyndall Smith 6 years ago from Milwaukee

      @teacherjoe52, Thanks for commenting. The Bible says nothing about “the rod is meant for the stiff-necked people” (if it does please show me where) but it does say, "He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14). Disciplining your child IS showing them love by not allowing them to think that bad behavior is ok.

      It is important to do it when you’re not angry. I agree with tough love for your children but the part of the bible that I think you are talking about has nothing to do with this lesson on loving your enemies.

      Stubborn people are not always people who are rude, self-centered, and like to cause trouble. Those are just people who are very difficult to convince and are not easily moved.

      Everyone deserves to learn about Jesus’ love even if they don’t become your friend. It is not our job to discipline other adults or peers, but it is our job to show them God’s love.

      I also believe in “tough love”, thanks again for comment.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 6 years ago

      Very true,BUT please do not forget where it says in the Bible : "The rod is meant for the stiff necked people."

      Now who are stiff necked people? STUBBORN people. Stubborn people are usually very rude,self centered and like to cause trouble. Don't forget,you only have two cheeks to turn.

      Where I live alomost everybody is STUBBORN. I am firm with them. Some avoid me like the plague (which is okay because they are nothing but troble). Some become friends and I teach them about Jesus' love.

      If your child insists upon doing something wrong,will you continue to just scold them?They will laugh at you and continue their being naughty. Whereas if your child has been warned and continues to be naughty and you give them a good smack on the butt they will respect you and not repeat their misbehaiour.

      Please not not forget there is also a place for "tough love"

      God bless

    • KySmith profile image

      Kyndall Smith 6 years ago from Milwaukee

      Thanks @Eddie-Perkins for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

    • profile image

      Eddie-Perkins 6 years ago

      Thank you for writing this KySmith. This is a great idea and you have presented it well. Vote up and useful ~ eddie