Enemies All Around

As we go through our days, it can sometimes feel as if ALL we have around us are people who are out to get us … or Enemies!

There are times when it feels like every ounce of energy we have is being tapped into … all of the time … and from every angle. During this holiday time of the year, as fun and exciting as it is, can sometimes become overwhelming. I know that if I am not careful, I can end up taking it out on those closest to me. It is at those times I need to be reminded of just who the enemy is and what I need to do to protect myself from his desire to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10) and that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1John4:4)

An enemy is anyone who may show hostility or ill will toward us, or seek to harm us. None of us is entirely free from the unhappiness caused by the wrongs of others. Our inclination may be to retaliate or “get even.” But the Word of God always speaks of a different kind of response:

  • “Live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18, NIV).
  • “Repay no one evil for evil” (Romans 12:17).
  • “Do not take revenge” (Romans 12:19, NIV).
  • “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).

Certain attitudes and actions tend to create enemies or widen differences:

  • Selfish actions or lack of sensitivity toward others.
  • Unwillingness to realize that we may be the “offender” rather than the “offended.”
  • Talking about people rather than to them; “putting them down” or criticizing their attitudes and actions instead of humbly confronting them.
  • Deliberately ignoring a tense situation rather than trying to correct it.
  • Believing that we are morally superior because we have found something to condemn in someone else.
  • Refusing to “go the second mile” or to “turn the other cheek” as taught in Scripture. Forgiveness is the essence of the redeemed life: “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
  • Disobeying God’s directive to love our enemies, bless them, do good to them, and pray for them (Matthew 5:44).

Billy Graham writes: “God can and will give you a forgiving spirit when you accept His

forgiveness through Jesus Christ. When you do, you will realize that He has forgiven

you so much that you will desire to forgive any wrong done to you. In the world, the

policy of getting even with the other fellow is generally accepted. Among Christians, it

86 is the policy to endure wrongs for the sake of Christ, forgiving that others might discover

through us the grace of God in forgiving the sinner.”

 Scripture

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).

“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, that you may be sons of your Father 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. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:44–46).

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’” (Luke 23:34).

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).

“Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11).

Other suggested Scriptures:

Psalm 34:14

Romans 14:17–19

2 Timothy 2:22

 

(Some matter in this post was gleaned from the Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook.)

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