Shortly after meeting, he became my best friend, but within five years he was my sworn enemy.
*Charles was an older gentleman I once knew. We hit it off immediately. I was the type of pastor he liked. But as time progressed, I noticed his attitude toward me cooling. I was making decisions he didn’t appreciate and suggesting the church move in directions he was uncomfortable with. The nail that sealed the coffin on our friendship was when the board made a decision he thought was directed at his integrity in a position he held. He thought I was the initiator even though I tried to convince him otherwise. Our friendship was over. He berated me in private and ignored me in public. And even though I attempted apologies, he refused them.
Life has taught me that everyone won’t like me, but Jesus says, If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. (Luke 6:29 NLT)
God’s Word reminds me to pray for my enemies. Not an easy thing to do, especially if they have harmed me physically or emotionally. But my prayer for them changes my attitude and makes it possible for me to love them in Christ. If he loved them enough to die for them, how can I do any less?
Jesus also reminds me not to retaliate if or when I have the opportunity. This doesn’t mean I don’t have rights or should serve as their door mat. I simply don’t seek revenge or try to get even. Rather I heap coals of fire on their head by loving them instead of hating them. Love covers a multitude of sins and also extinguishes fires of animosity.
How are you responding to your enemies?
Prayer: Merciful Lord Jesus, when we are scorned by others, enable us to respond in love as You did on Calvary’s cross.
*Name changed to protect the individual’s privacy.
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