LOVE THY ENEMY?
Does anyone else struggle with this? Man, this has been a thorn in my side for as long as I can remember. In the beginning, it wasn’t much of a problem because my youth dulled the point of Matthew 5:44 (ESV), But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Unfortunately, as I aged it became more pointed but not so bothersome that I had to adjust anything to have peace, or so I thought. Actually, age made it seem even more impossible to believe it was possible. My thought process at the time had me believing this is not only unreasonable but also isn’t even desirable. Dicionary.com defines the enemy as a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something. This is self-explanatory the way I see it, as a member of the human race it is my duty, and my right, to defend my honor (pride, ego, self-respect, etc.) to prove my place in the human hierarchy through dominance.
All this being said, I have been on a journey of discovery to learn how to love my enemies. I wish I could say I don’t have any and as far as my part they are only a few that I wrestle with today but through the publishing of this blog there seem to be quite a few who want to be my enemy. I have asked Jesus repeatedly to help me understand how I can possibly love someone who doesn’t like me, and He is answering my question one person at a time. He is teaching me that my enemy is usually the victim of my stinking thinking! For whatever reason, I allow and sometimes even choose to let my feelings of suspicion or antipathy and of course my old pal jealousy rule. No matter the person’s actions, words, attitude, and such, it is what is going on in my head that determines whether the person is a friend or foe. I’m slowly learning that my true enemy Satan has only the power which I allow Him through my thought process and through Jesus I can diminish his control. I have always been a proponent of what goes around comes around and my response to the enemy’s attack can enable the attacks to worsen. On the other hand, once I requite my opponent with kindness the attack has nothing to grow on. As Mother Teresa said, “Peace begins with a smile.” I find it helpful to remember Matthew 5:45 (ESV), so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. God never meant for my life to be all about me!
This past week I received the vision of how awful and hateful I was to God during my younger years and yet He loved me! Even when I would curse Him and make fun of Him, He loved me! I was His enemy in every respect, and yet He loved me! Then this week He showed me why He loved me into His salvation rather than casting me aside. Jesus is love and He loved me as His creation looking forward to the day that He could love me as His child. He never loved me as His enemy looking for a submission, He loved me as His own looking for a believer who would by choice love Him with everything and faithfully follow His life’s examples. His greatest commands say it all, Matthew 22:37&39 (ESV), 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Those that are close to me know that I have my ringtone set to Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord as a constant reminder of how important we are to Him.
Our enemies live and die inside our minds! We have the power to grow them or even erase them as far as it is up to us. This is found in Romans 12:18 (ESV), If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. We have little control over their thought processing however, I believe they can be swayed one way or the other by repetition in how we treat them. We can heap coals of kindness on their head in an effort to cause them to wonder about or doubt their treatment of us. I’ve been there, done that, and given myself the jerk of the year award for it. No matter how much I chose to dislike someone, I always felt bad after every altercation. My spirit was not at peace with who I was. Warren Wiersbe said “Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.” Jesus is the author, perfector, and protector of peace.
Father, I come before you with praise and thanksgiving for the gift of this day, I am glad and proud that you have chosen the readers of the prayer to be here as well. Lord in writing this I’m learning 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (ESV), 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love. Help us to learn that we can stand firm in you and love the enemies of this world at the same time. Lord, we invite your wisdom to fill and guide us throughout this week. Amen
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK BY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS!