When Jesus says to Love Our Enemies, Does that mean to Love the Devil?

From Issue: Discovery 08/01/2001

Dear Stephanie,

Jesus did say in Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” He also said just a few verses before this one “not to resist an evil person” (5:39). However, the devil is not any ordinary “person,” but rather a spirit. When the Bible talks about how we are to treat the devil, it uses words just the opposite of those above. It says that we are to “resist the devil” so that he will leave us alone (James 4:7; 1Peter 5:9). It says to “not make room for the devil” in our lives (Ephesians 4:27, NRSV). And we are told to “stand” firm against the devil’s evil tricks (Ephesians 6:11). In Matthew 5, Jesus was talking about other human beings, not spirit beings like the devil. And so, God expects us to do good to all people, even our enemies (which is not easy to do, yet it’s something we have to do), but Jesus was not talking about the devil.


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