27 Apr Love Your Enemies
Love Your Enemies
“But I say to you, 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…”
Matthew 5:44 NKJV
I can’t count the times I’ve heard sermons on loving enemies. Growing up in church, this was a particularly popular topic. I can see why, I guess. It’s not easy to love someone who hates you and wants to do you harm. This is difficult to do as a Christian. However, this blog isn’t necessarily about loving your enemies…
A few years ago, I found an old friend on a social media site. I added her to my list of friends. She did not respond to my request for a while, though. When she did, she sent me a message. Having no clue as to the contents of her message, I began to read, assuming she wanted to greet me and reminisce over old times. That was not the case. I felt as if someone had poured out a bucket of iced water on me when I read the words, “you hurt me…but I forgive you as Christ forgave me.” I don’t know how to explain the feeling that ran over me. I was in shock, speechless. I knew I had attitude issues growing up, but I didn’t know the extent of its effects on others. I apologized wholeheartedly to this wonderful person.
What if you’re the enemy in someone’s life?
I understand we won’t always agree with others, but to be an enemy is some serious stuff. I’ll admit, I’m one to challenge others when I do not agree or when I believe something is not right. As a result, I probably have harmed others. I’m no saint. I’m pretty sure I’ve also smirked or held an internal comment when someone I didn’t like had some minor misfortune. Oh, did I say that out loud? Yes. Let’s be real, here. There are just some people that we cannot see eye to eye or just plain get on our nerves. Many of them are in our own families! Ha! But, there comes a time when we each go through a process of maturing. And in this process, our perspectives begin to shift and adhere more to God’s view of things.
Today, I’m more grateful for Matthew 5:44 because I know that this verse has been about me at one point or another. And to know that Jesus Christ would encourage His followers to pray for their enemies just continues to point to His amazing grace for EVERYONE. No, I don’t get it right most days. But, I’m trying. I don’t smile at others as much as I should (and I have a serious face, so I should lighten up), but I’m getting there.
We need each other. We need to encourage and lift each other up. Too many times, hurt and past wounds have deterred us from making an effort. I know this all too well. Stubbornness can also play a role in being the first to admit our wrongs. I’m so thankful for that old friend who confronted me about her hurt. And while I had no idea the pain I caused her, being more aware of my actions is a must.
I’m sorry to that young adult who had to encounter my temperament. I’m sorry to that woman who I didn’t take the time to listen to while I was busy being self-absorbed. I’m sorry to that family who experienced a nasty attitude of mine. I’m sorry.
And I move forward, daily surrendering to God my ugly and nasty, so that I may not continue to harm others.