Paradoxes of the Christ-following Life

Enemy Love – Linda Magengenene-Mayake – 17.3.2024

As there are some new groups meeting for the first time there are two icebreakers this week – one for existing groups and one for the new groups to enable them to introduce themselves to one another. Please do whichever is applicable to your group.

Matthew 5:43-48 Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.

The Jewish law commanded Jews to love their neighbours. Yet over the centuries since it was given rabbis had added the clause that they should hate their enemies too; the term ‘enemies’ included anyone who had not been circumcised. Jesus told His followers that people should love everyone, just as God does, for every person was their neighbour. God shone His sun and sent His rain on the just and the unjust – revealing His mercy to all until the time of judgment arrives. In this way He sets the example for all those who would follow Him. It is not enough for a Christ-follower to love those who love them. They should love all people for such love defines their character. Jesus points the way to God’s righteousness as their example to follow.

If you were served a roast lunch with all the trimmings (and starter and pudding etc) would you say you like it or you love it? What about a vegan meal? Or a hot curry that breaks a sweat? Why do you respond to such a gift in these ways? What does that say to you about the chef? What does it say about you?


  • When you first meet someone, do you find yourself responding favourably to them until perhaps they hurt or insult you in some way? Or do you find there are some people you (instinctively) do not like? What prompts you to like/dislike someone?
  • How do you respond to your enemies especially those you cannot avoid for they may be family members or work colleagues? Is this a struggle for you? How could you extend love to these people?
  • Think of someone you struggle to love. You do not have to name them. What good can you see in them? It may be easy to say ‘none’ but perhaps they have a cat they love, or a church ministry, or a sick mother they are for. What do you actually know about their background that may contribute to them being seemingly unlovable? How could you extend a hand of kindness to them?
  • What can you do for them – some small task that would show you do not want revenge or to get the better of them? Brainstorm ideas as to how you can be kind to them (and to any others you struggle with at this time).
  • Have you ever asked Jesus to help you to see them through His eyes? Spend a moment in silence now, looking at them as He sees them. What difference could that make – to your opinion about them and to your response to them?
  • Three questions were asked:
    o What can you do to cut the chain of hate?
    o How do your negative feelings affect who you are?
    o How would a kind response from you affect your relationship with them – and maybe even who they are?
    What is your response to these questions?
  • Are you prepared to take some of the mercy God has shown you and extend it to those with whom you struggle? How can you do that? Are you prepared to do so? Why/why not?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.

You have made some suggestions as a group in this week’s discussion. Now go out there and ‘Just Do It’! Have fun as you watch people’s response to you. Be prepared to share what happens next time you get together.

Please note: There will be no small group notes next week as group
participants are encouraged to attend the Holy Week services at


Matthew Chapter 5


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