Grace with Enemies

graceIf you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don’t know God are nice to their friends. (Matthew 5:46-47)

Ponder It.

  • How do you define “enemy”?
  • What enemies have you had throughout your life?
  • Who would God say your enemies are?

Receive It. God gives us sufficient grace to extend to enemies. Enemies is an interested term. Sometimes we struggle to identify who our enemies are. We can’t imagine anyone really being an enemy; after all, doesn’t God call us to love everyone and hate no one, and if we slap on the label of enemy, isn’t that a non-Christian thing to do? The quick answer? No. Enemies are real, and they are biblical. We have enemies. God himself has enemies. Refusing to acknowledge we have enemies is like sticking our heads in the sand. Even when we identify our enemies, we can make critical errors in judgment. We often identify our enemies as someone who has done something to us that we don’t like. Getting our label of enemy is a burden the person brought upon herself because of what she did. It was her choice…or so we say as we blame. But blaming someone doesn’t make someone an enemy. Assuming someone’s motives doesn’t make someone an enemy. None of us have ever seen a motive, so we’re wise not to spend much time trying to mind-read what another’s motives are. Plus, enemies really aren’t for us to define. We’re not the center of reality and the crux of all justice. If we base the definition of enemy on ourselves, we’ll err. It’s God who determines the reality of our enemies. If we are for God, our enemies are his enemies. Our enemies are those who are against him, and we can’t actually tell who that is all the time. We can make assumptions, but he has a better perspective. He sees people’s motives and knows their hearts. He knows the outcome. And he knows how he wants us to respond. When we let God determine our enemies, we also need to follow his lead in our responses. He knows the boundaries we need and the commitments he wants. He knows when we’re to stand up, sit down, speak up, shut up, and pray. Trust him.

Live It. Pray for an enemy today. Don’t be content with a quick obligatory prayer. As you wholeheartedly pray for an enemy, God will begin to work in and through you in surprising ways.

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