#faithbites #faithjourney enemies
I saw an article the other day that said we used to call members of different political parties “opponents” now they are “enemies”. Is this a simple word choice? Wikidiff has this comparison: “As nouns the difference between opponent and enemy is that opponent is an individual or group who is a rival of another while enemy is someone who is hostile to, feels hatred towards, opposes the interests of, or intends injury to someone else.”
It is easier to find common ground on issues with an opponent. The only path to victory with an enemy is to destroy them. Is this the world we want to live in? Should we see those with different viewpoints or choices as enemies?
As we serve God, should we see others as enemies or opponents? Ideally, Jesus would want us to see them as our brothers and sisters under the one true god.
Today’s questions: Do you see those who have different beliefs than you do as enemies or opponents or something else? How do you share the Gospel and forgiveness of Christ with an enemy? Is it possible?
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[a] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
I opened this #faithbites by asking if you consider those who have different beliefs than you as opponents or enemies. Now I will ask, does it matter? If we follow the advise in Luke 6:27-36, we are to love our enemies. If we are cursed by someone, we love the and if they strike us, we love them. This is what shows our strength as Christians and as good people. We should love and do good to our enemies.
Now, as Americans, we can have opponents with different ideas for how to live their life or what policies to support. We can debate and create better solutions without feeling hostile or hateful. In competitions, we have opponents and even rivals who were don’t hate off the court or playing field. If this is the case in those situations, how do we get back to working with our opponents as children of God rather than seeing them as the enemy? I don’t know the answer to this but can tell you that I often have a hard time separating feelings and logic when I disagree with someone. I struggle to focus on the policy or issue and not the person. I’m aware of it and will work towards fixing it.
As we close, we need to look at ourselves. Why are we feeling this way towards those who disagree with us? How do we get back to constructive debates? The Lord wants us to love all, help all, and work through our differences. Are you ready to try?
Lord Jesus, you never wanted us to live in a world surrounded by enemies. Your vision for us was loving you, sharing you, and living in love together. We ask you to soften our hearts. Help us to see those with different opinions as just that, people with different opinions. Remind us that they aren’t enemies and they don’t need to be destroyed. Help us find ways to come to compromise and understanding through you and your word. We know this isn’t easy but pray all of these things in your name. Because we know all things are possible with you. Amen.