Love Your Enemies
The Point: Love your enemies even as Christ has loved you.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
A new movie arrived in the theaters this spring titled “The Best of Enemies.” The movie is based on a book with the title, The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South. It tells the true story of C.P. Ellis, a white man who was the Exalted Cyclops of the Durham, NC, United Klans of America, and Ann Atwater, a black woman who advocated for fair housing for the city’s African-American residents. The story is set is 1971 while the city of Durham battled over school desegregation. Because of Ellis’s racism, the two characters are pitted against each other. But over time, Atwater does an act of kindness for Ellis’s family, and Ellis’s heart shifts, as he turns away from his racism. He is ostracized by his friends who hold firm to their racist attitudes. The New York Times titled their review of the movie, “A Klansman and a Civil Rights Activist Become Friends.”
Say: The idea of enemies becoming friends must be an unusual thing if someone writes a book or makes a movie when it happens. Then call attention to Question #1 (When have you seen an enemy become a friend?) and invite the group to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Study the Bible
Use the following information to supplement Question #4.
Arthur Brooks, who is a social scientist, recently wrote a book titled Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. Brooks wrote the book in an effort to guide people who are deeply divided by politics to have constructive conversations. Brooks feels that Americans can disagree better, more than just “getting along.”
Say: Arthur Brooks suggests that people can do better than just “getting along” with each other. Jesus took this idea much further when He instructed His followers to “love your enemies.” Then call attention to Question #4 (In what ways can loving our enemies be personally rewarding?) and invite the group to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
- Who do you know who seems to love everyone?
- When have you seen an enemy become a friend?
- When has a neighbor become like family to you?
- What are the benefits of forgiving those who have harmed us?
- Who do you know that models Jesus’ teaching in these verses?
- What are some practical ways we can “do good” to those who oppose us?
- Which of the statements in verses 29-31 seems easiest for you to live out? Which seems most difficult?
- When have you seen someone living out these principles?
- Verses 29-31 list several practical ideas for loving your enemies. What could those ideas look like in modern society?
- How have you seen God’s undeserved goodness and mercy displayed recently?
- In what ways can our treatment of others help or harm our witness?
- What are some characteristics of the kind of radical love Jesus is describing in these verses?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: He Said What? Session 4
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- Mature Living – Forgiving the Unforgivable