We have all heard we are to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. There is even scripture upon scripture telling us just that. Matt 5:44, Luke 6: 27-36, Romans 12:14, these are just a few of the scripture found in the Bible.
Seems pretty cut and dried to me, bless those that curse you and love those who are making your life miserable. Yes, that is to the point and our Master did not mince words, we know what He wants us to do and how He wants us to act.
That is all well and good…………..until you are faced every day with those who are making you life miserable, until you are forced to deal with hatred, manipulation and dishonesty on a daily basis. If you are like me, and I know many of you are, you are saying to yourself………how and no way! How do I turn the other cheek, how do I love this person when all I want to do is lock them in a closet for the next 57 years.
I have thought about this a great deal the last few weeks and have come to a few conclusions. It all boils down to submission to our Lord.
I have to deal with the situation with respect, courtesy and honesty. The strange part is I have found that dealing with the situation in that manner, while good for the other party involved helps me mostly. I can sleep at night knowing that I at least have acted with dignity.
I know that Jesus realized how hard this would be for us when He gave those words to us. He knew that we would have a great deal of trouble trying to love someone who was trying to defeat us on a daily basis. We need to remember that and to remember He is available to help us.
I start by looking at myself and making sure I am not doing anything to make this situation worse and to determine what part I played in making this problem what it has become. I think it is beneficial to actually start looking for the attributes in the other person that are commendable and let them know you appreciate those traits……..sometimes you have to really look but usually they are there.
Maybe (ok, probably) God put you in this situation to shine light on Himself and this is your chance to glorify Him. Retaliation and retribution are not exactly a good reflection of what God is doing in your life. While vengeance feels good in the short term rarely does it have any lasting effects that are noteworthy and good.
You can bet when you are in a situation like this, to a large extent emotions are controlling what you say and do and you can also bet that isn’t a good thing.
In reality, maybe they are persecuting you and cursing you and talking behind your back. Do you think that you are going to change their behavior? Probably not. While I may be a scrapper when I need to be, there are times when diplomacy and detachment are necessary.
These situations seem like a perfect opportunity to grow in Christ. It is hard to love and forgive when your enemy goes on with the war despite all your best efforts. What a chance for growth, what a chance to pray and change hate and strife to love.
One final point. If we are to “Love “ our enemies, are we remembering what the Biblical definition of love is? Maybe we need to look it up and meditate on it for a bit.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. “(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
It seems I have my work cut out for me and I would do good to realize that this is not an overnight thing and it is something that probably needs to be worked on each day. It is a good thing that God is perfectly capable of helping me do these things because I certainly am not up to the task without His help.
……………….and so I ride