Luke 17:3 Ministries Inc
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
For Adult Daughters of Controlling or Abusive Birth-Families

What About "Love Your Enemies"? (Matthew 5: 44-48)



WHAT ABOUT "LOVE YOUR ENEMIES"?

By Rev. Renee

But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.....If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.....Matthew 5: 44-48 NIV

 

    We recently received an e-mail with a thought-provoking question.  The Lord has led me to use this question and its answer in an article.  I believe it is especially relevant to our situation, and I pray that it will bless you.  Many thanks to our Sister who took the time to write to us with this excellent question.


Q:      I have been reading your site with interest - thanks for it.  I just wondered how you interpret the instructions to love our enemies?


A:      Thanks so much for writing.  I'm so glad you're enjoying our site. Praise the Lord!  That’s really a great question.  It’s really sad and unfortunate that some people will choose to be our enemies even though we never wanted it that way.  I don’t see any conflict at all in loving someone while still setting limits on their behavior, rebuking them, or even leaving them if necessary.

          Rebuke, setting boundaries, and even enforcing consequences can all be acts of love, done in love.  We love our children, but we still set limits on their behavior, teach them right from wrong, disapprove when they hurt others, and teach them good manners, thoughtfulness, consideration and to treat others nicely.  We take the time to rebuke and teach them precisely because we DO love them.  We can do the same with our abusive relatives.  We can expect proper behavior from them, disapprove of causing pain for others, have boundaries, and refuse to be subjected to abuse or evil, and still love them.  The reason we try so hard to work things out is because we love them.  But do they love us enough to work things out?

          After we have confronted them and stated our boundaries, it is then their choice whether they will respect our limits or continue to abuse.  It is their choice whether the relationship will be able to continue, or will have to end.  Many abusers, when confronted with limits on their behavior, will choose to end the relationship rather than change, and will disown us.  This will cause us much sorrow, precisely because we do love and miss them.  It will take time before we will be able to heal and move on.

          There are also times when we will have no choice but to be the ones to walk away from a toxic relationship.  This is a very difficult decision, usually reached in desperation after many years of trying everything we could think of to make the relationship work, and reluctantly coming to realize that it takes two to tango, and our relative does not care about us enough to even try.  We spend most of our lives trying to change things precisely because we DO love our relative and want so much to have a nice relationship.  It is very painful to walk away from someone we love, but there are times we have no choice.

          Loving someone does not mean you have to have a relationship with them.  As we go through life, most of us at one time or another will have the experience of just not being able to be with someone we love, because we’re not good together, not good for each other, or they’re not right for us or healthy for us.  This could be an old boyfriend, a childhood school chum, or a family member.  As time passes, we come to accept this and know that it’s a part of life, and maybe even look back on our time with that person fondly while moving on with our own lives.   Loving someone does not mean staying in a toxic situation.  Sometimes you love someone but you still have to walk away.  You can love someone from a distance if that’s what it takes to be safe and healthy. 

          Abusers, of course, are going to accuse us of not loving them if we set limits on them, rebuke them, disown them, or even if they disown us.  This is due to many reasons, including manipulation, yet another attempt to control us, or their trademark denial and refusal to be accountable for their own behavior and to blame us or everyone else for the consequences of their own actions.  They are looking at it from a warped perspective and we should not take their accusations of unlovingness on our parts seriously.  The ones who are unloving in the relationship are THEM, not us.

          Love doesn’t mean allowing yourself to be abused, exploited, mistreated, and victimized.  It doesn’t mean letting the person you love do anything they want, no matter how wrong or evil, without ever stopping them. You do not owe the people you love a lifetime of being allowed to walk all over you.  If they refuse to treat you with love, then you can still love them as a part of your past, while understanding and accepting that, for reasons not in your control, they cannot be a part of your present, and will not be a part of your future.  You will mourn and grieve this loss, as you would the loss of anyone you love.  And then you will begin to heal and move on to a better life. 

        So these are the reasons why I have no problem reconciling loving those who choose to be our enemies while still protecting ourselves and our other loved ones.  I don't see anything contradictory about what we teach on our website and loving our relatives.  Love and boundaries are not mutually exclusive.

        

 

Copyright 2002-2017.-All articles on this site are copyrighted. Permission to copy is granted for non-profit use only.Please help yourself to anything we write if you can use it to help others. A link back to this site is our only requirement. Please contact us for any commercial or other use. All e-mails, letters, and other correspondence become the property of Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc. Due to the large volume of e-mails, we're sorry that we are unable to personally answer every one, but we do lift everyone who writes to us in prayer to the Lord.
The Lord specifically called Sister Renee to minister to Adult Children, not their parents, estranged siblings or friends, abusive or abused spouses, or victims of other types of abuse, although what we write here can often be meaningful for those folks as well. Because of this, our ministry and website have a narrow focus which we will not be changing. We simply can't cover everything. In addition, it is not our purpose to help you re-establish contact with someone who felt it was necessary to cut you off for the sake of their own well-being. We do not keep a list of resources for estranged parents or any other type of abuse and suggest if you are sincerely interested in making amends with an estranged relative, you do an internet search for a website or group that will be more relevant to you. If you cannot find a group or site that you can relate to, we suggest you start your own, and bless other people in your position as well as find support for your personal issues. 
For Adult Children and others as well, please understand that we cannot give you personal advice concerning your particular family relationships.  We are not therapists or lawyers, we usually do not have enough information to form an opinion, and time does not permit us to give enough thought to each person's individual situation to do it justice. If you need personal advice, we urge you to contact the appropriate professional, depending on the problem you have- your minister, therapist, attorney, police department, local domestic violence hotline, etc. In reading this site, you acknowledge that nothing you might read here qualifies as or substitutes for professional advice. Please note we cannot recommend or refer you to a counselor and we do not have a list of therapists or recovery groups in your area. The only Counselor we recommend is the Holy Ghost, and we encourage you to read the Bible and learn for yourself what the Lord says about the issues we write about.
Our articles are strictly our personal opinions and testimonies and are not intended to give or offer any advice. All who access this site do so with the understanding that we are NOT professional counselors and we strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with your pastor or therapist and pray for the Lord's guidance before acting on anything we write on this site. Unfortunately, the abuse we discuss is all too common, inflicted on countless victims by countless perpetrators. All names and identifying details in our articles have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. Any resemblance to a real person or persons whom you might know is strictly coincidental.