Skip to main content

Friend or Foe - Who Goes There?

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. 45 If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:43-45 ERV)

I wonder if someone has to tell or teach us to hate one another, or if that is just something we come by naturally. Maybe it comes when we foster some sense of entitlement in our lives, believing others "owe us" because of something we believe we deserve. Perhaps it develops over time when we focus more and more on what we want more than on what another could want or need. It might even come when we get so caught up in comparing our differences that we cannot help but be angry or bitter over another's fortune, their status, or even their ability to enjoy life's simplicity. Regardless of how hatred develops, I know there is but one way for love to really take hold in our lives - through Christ Jesus.

It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." He was right - nothing short of love will ever overcome a sense of entitlement, the mystery of being so self-absorbed that we don't see others, or too enraged over dissimilarities that we cannot look past them. Love is impossible apart from God, for God is love "personified" - he is love in action. No matter how vile the mistreatment of Jesus was as he walked this earth, he didn't react with hatred or with "smiting" anyone. He is observed repeatedly giving light and truth, responding in kindness, and giving what was unexpected by those who didn't even know they had need.

Love isn't easy at times, because we find ourselves in situations where it is "hard" to love. We don't "feel" the love and it is hard to give out what we don't "feel". It is much easier to allow our feelings to dictate our responses, isn't it? We want to retaliate when wronged, because our feelings get us going in that direction. We want to throw a pity party when we don't get our way, simply because our feelings didn't get stroked the way we wanted them to be stroked. Feelings are fickle and are not very good indicators of the best actions to take, though! In fact, most of the time, unless the Spirit of God is invited to help us know when a feeling should be acted upon, we act upon some pretty "wrong" feelings!

Love may not be the easiest response in the light of disappointment, frustration, or fear, but it is the right one! It is possible only as long as we invite the Spirit of God to help us "filter" those emotions that get in the way of truly loving. It is only then we find ourselves on the path of transforming enemies into friends. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,