When You’re Called to Love Your Enemies
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Once I had a coworker who, for some reason, stopped talking to me. When we passed in the halls at school, she would actually look away. It upset me, and I really had no idea why she had begun to snub me. We weren’t close friends, but she’d always been kind before. At first, my feelings were hurt, and I decided I’d ‘show her’ by acting in the same way. I complained about her to friends and refused to look at her in the hallway; I continued each day to let my anger and confusion affect my mood.
After weeks of this, I realized I couldn’t go on in the same manner and decided I’d ‘kill her with kindness.’ Only thing was, I didn’t want to be insincere. My bible study ladies advised me to pray not just for my own feelings but for her as well. I began doing this and quickly felt that I could extend true kindness. Each morning when I passed her, I made sure to look at her, smile, and ask about her morning or her kids or anything else that came to mind. In doing this, I began to shed my anger at her for her distance, and I could again see her as one of God’s perfect creations. As a bonus, she responded warmly and soon all levels of animosity were gone.
When someone wrongs us, we often want to ‘pay her back’. Paying back might come in the form of an action, but most often it comes from grumbling and complaining, refusal to talk to the person, and forced fake smiles.
All this bitterness and resentment that comes from the desire for revenge takes its toll. We spend our days cranky and upset, unhappy because another person has done something to us and caused us to feel this way.
Imagine if instead of allowing the payback desire to take hold, we would pray instead. We could immediately pray for our enemy and follow up with a kind or a good deed to help her out. Whooo, wouldn’t she be surprised? And don’t you know that right at that moment when we pray and follow up with actions from good intentions, our bitterness will dissolve, and we will be blessed. That sounds so much better!
Today’s Prayer: Lord, remind us to let our reactions reflect you. Give us strength and patience so that we may deal with our enemies with love and grace. Amen
Personal Challenge: Think of someone whom you feel has wronged you in some way, no matter how small. Find one thing you can do for them from a loving heart. It doesn’t have to be huge; a smile and an honestly felt kind word often go a long way. Once you’ve decide what you’ll do, do it! While you may not change the other person, Christ will change you. Journal about this specific experience.