Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bring on the enemy!

Most of us have heard that saying to "keep your friends close, but your friends closer" right? Ever think about the meaning of that one? Keeping our friends close makes sense because they bring awesome things into our lives in special ways by their laughter, hugs, tears, and even their wisdom. We WANT that stuff in our lives. Our enemies, on the other hand...well....they don't bring the kind of stuff most of us would label as "awesome". You might think keeping your enemies closer is so that you can wreak as much havoc in their lives as they have in yours, but just when they aren't looking! Is it possible the real meaning of this saying is keeping our enemy "closer" might just reveal some stuff about ourselves that otherwise would go undiscovered?
“There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. (Matthew 5:43-45 TLB)
Jesus put it slightly different, but he wanted us to realize the potential in our enemy. If we keep them close to us, we find ways of allowing them to help us grow - to discover strength we didn't know we had or needed. That 'enemy' actually reveals stuff about "YOU" that you didn't know existed until they got too close for comfort. They reveal both the good and the bad - the latter being why we might just not want them all that close to us!
Let me ask you this - what one thing has someone you have labeled as an "enemy" in your life revealed about you just by their presence in your life? Chances are, if you really take some time to think on that one, you will begin to realize they drove you to your knees on occasion, had you searching for answers you had yet to discover, or perhaps even taught you a thing or two about what it truly means to love unconditionally. Our enemies have a way of helping us to realize behavior WE need to correct, not just that THEY need to correct!
We can curse the darkness, or we can light a candle to see what is revealed in that darkness! The enemy we might want to push away is the very thing we need to 'push us' closer to Jesus, or deeper into the discovery of his truths contained in his Word. I'm right there with you - I'd like to just 'be rid of them' as much as the next guy - but God asks me to love them - embrace them. Why? If I do, there is something that happens to BOTH of us in the process. I get to know myself (and my Lord) in ways I didn't know before AND they get to see just a little bit of Jesus (something they might not ever see otherwise). Just sayin!