I often long misunderstood the definition of "enemy". I wrongly have placed the root of "enemy" upon my own feelings. I have thought that an enemy was one whom I hated because of wicked actions done to me.
That is wrong.
The Greek work for "enemy" means hateful, odious or hostile...an adversary. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, yet He did not say that they would thus cease being our enemies. Jesus made no guarantee that an enemy would become a friend if we demonstrate love. Whether someone is my enemy does not depend upon whether I hate them or not.
Rather, my enemy is one who hates me.
Jesus often referred to Satan as our adversary, and Satan hates us, seeking to devour us. Yet, we seldom hate Satan. We usually ignore or disbelieve his existence. He most often successfully deceives us by masquerading as an angel of light. Satan, however, remains our enemy, whether we hate him or not.>
No, my enemy is not one whom I hate.
My enemy is one who hates me.
And this allows me to separate myself from the hate. This allows me to show practical, necessary compassion, even for one who hates me.
An enemy is one who hates me. I don't have to hate someone in order for them to be an enemy. A person who hates me will be my enemy, whether I hate them in return or not.
I might as well love them!
"As a matter of principle and duty, I ought to give what is needed and useful, even to one who hates me. I ought to do good and give what is needed, expecting nothing to be repaid. Yet I am repaid! My reward from God is great! Despite my natural, ungodly bent towards thanklessness and hurtfulness, God is kind to me, granting to me His graciousness in Christ.
"I ought to have compassion, even for one who hates me, just as God has compassion on me. I ought to give place to God as Judge, rather than taking to myself the responsibility of deciding whether someone deserves help or whether someone deserves punishment. If I were to place myself as judge over another person, I would forfeit the mercy that I myself enjoy from God.
"I ought to forgive others, even the one who hates me, just as God frees me fully from the sin that once threatened to doom me to eternal punishment and banishment from God's presence.
"The love and goodness, kindness and mercy that God freely gives to me is immeasurably great. He has given me much more than just what is necessary. He has given me an intimate relationship with Him that is beautiful, full to the brim and running over with life and joy!" (Luke 6:35-38, expanded)