We All Have Enemies Published week of May 31, 2020
There is one thing that everyone reading this has in common. We all have enemies. It doesn't matter how nice of a person you or I may be; over the course of time, people are going to oppose our ideas as well as us as individuals. If we are attempting to stand up for our beliefs, then there are going to be other people oppose us from time to time. Traveling down the road of life, we are going to live and think in ways that goes contrary to others and that sometimes results in making enemies. When it comes to spiritual matters, you are going to find that living for Jesus often results in getting others to oppose you even to the point of making enemies.
Everyone, including Christians, has enemies so the question is not, “Do we make enemies?” The question is, “How are we going to respond to our enemies?” What does the Bible have to say about dealing and interacting with people that don’t like you, oppose you, or desire to harm and do you wrong? First of all, we ought to never go down to their level. Many people's lives have been ruined, not by what has been done to them, but by how they have responded to it. Some people have built their life around trying to “get even” and “settle the score”. At best, this is not only an exercise in futility but is unbiblical. Retribution and revenge can never heal your wounds. In fact, seeking to repay a wrong with another wrong only does more harm. Unforgiveness and anger lead to bitterness; and once bitterness takes root, you will be miserable. To put it bluntly, there is only One who has the right to pay anyone back for a wrong and that is God. Only God knows how to pay back a wrong in the right way.
That leaves us with the question, “How should we respond to our enemies?” Proverbs 25:21-22 says, If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. I always found that to be an intriguing text and was not sure that it sounded very kind to throw fire on another person's head. Then I discovered that back in Bible days, homes were heated and meals were prepared on little stoves that would look like an outside barbecue grill. When the poor ran out of coals for the fire, they would put empty containers on their heads and pass under the windows of wealthier people, who would drop extra coals into the containers. At the end of the journey, the poor man would arrive back home with a pile of burning coals on his head for his fire. It was an act of kindness and generosity.
We must remind ourselves to fill our enemies with forgiveness and kindness. Sometimes, this will turn enemies into friends. However, this will not always be the end result so when it doesn’t, we must remember that it displays the character of God, who loved us and sent His Son to die for us while we were His enemies (Romans 5:8).
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of your Son, Jesus Christ, who loved His enemies even to the point of death. Today, help me to find room in my heart to love my enemies the way Jesus loved His enemies. I lay my enemies in Your hands, perform a special miracle in these relationships. In Jesus name, Amen.