Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Ways to bless your enemy. Rather than being angry with those who oppose us, we are called to seek their blessing. How can we do this? We must understand what blessing others means. "We want to help them in their relationship with God by displaying God's character - this is what is in their best interests." We must also recognize that humility and gentleness (both characteristics of God) are foundational to our interactions with enemies.
Ed Welch gives ten ways to bless our enemies: 1. Judge ourselves first. Do we have desires that are selfish? We need to confess these wants and desires that have become inordinate and idolatrous. 2. Do not retaliate. Do not respond in the moment, especially if it is a response in the flesh. Do not plot revenge, but rather seek God. We cannot seek to get even. 3. Seek forgiveness. Often in relationships both parties share responsibility for the situation. Own our part and ask for forgiveness for the wrong that we have done. 4. Ask questions. We are often blinded by our own perspective and our angry response further blinds us. Asking questions helps us to gain perspective from the other person's point of view. 5. Use gentle words. A soft answer turns away wrath (Prov. 15:1). Rather than inciting escalation, look for ways to deescalate and disarm the situation. All out war benefits no one. 6. Remember the mercy and grace we have received. We received mercy and grace from God rather than judgment. We are now free to pass on this mercy and grace to others rather than judgment. 7. Ask someone for help. The goal here is to gain perspective on ways to bless the other person and requesting prayer for ourselves as we seek a peaceful, God-honoring resolution. 8. How have they been wounded? How has this person been hurt by other people? What are their hardships? How can our compassion and sorrow be aroused for their situation? 9. Blessing may involve over-looking the offense or identifying the offense. Genuine love covers a multitude of offenses (this is not pretending that sin does not exist, but it is giving space for God to work in the heart rather than addressing every failing). Genuine love also is willing to speak the truth in love. At times, the sin needs to be identified and addressed. We always do this in love, humility, and gentleness. 10. Pray. We may feel that we are not making progress in our attempts to bless. Pray for the Spirit to give us deeper insight into what to do and the strength and courage to do it. God uses these circumstances to grow us as much as the other person.
How do you need to seek to bless your "enemy" today?