Tag Archives: love your enemies

Living In Harmony

When I was in school, there was a game that schools were teaching kids called “Lifeboat”. Basically you were the captain of a ship that was at sea and it was going down. There was one lifeboat, but there wasn’t enough room for everyone. They gave you a rundown on everyone on board. Some were young, some were old, some had questionable past, some had noble professions, some had medical conditions, some were addicts, etc. You were then to choose to see how your morals or values guided you. My parents, and a lot of Christians were against this type of education and wanted us to respect all people and value their life. I don’t remember the game lasting very long in schools, but I do remember them reiterating the Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated.

Both the Old and New Testaments teach us to love our enemies and to treat them well. The word enemy here is someone who is hostile toward you or who opposes you. That can be tough to do. Usually if someone is hostile toward me, my first reaction is to attack them back or go on the defensive. I’ve always tried to keep Proverbs 15:1 in mind when someone is angry at me, and give them a soft answer. Another thing I try to do to de-escalate the situation is to try to understand their side and point of view by asking questions gently. Most people simply want to be heard and understood. They feel like attacking or yelling is the way to do that. Our response has the ability to add gasoline to that raging fire or water.

Finally, if all else fails, value them and their life. Remember that they were made in the image of God as much as you were. Romans 12:16 says, “Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own” (TPT). When we argue our points by devaluing someone else and their points. It’s like tossing them overboard in the game of Lifeboat. It’s telling them that they don’t matter and you and your points are worth more than theirs. As believers, we must learn how to live in harmony across denominational, racial, ethnical and personal belief lines. We must value each other as brothers and sisters in Christ even though we may not see eye to eye. We are not each other’s enemy, and our battle is not against flesh and blood. Each of us have the same worth to God and He paid the same price for their sin as He did for yours. When we learn to value others as ourselves, we create an ability to live in harmony.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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Changing Your Heart

As a high I in DISC, I tend to get along well with everyone. However, there are a few people that I’ve come across, that I clash with. There’s something about them that I don’t like and they bring out the worst in me. Because I don’t like them and they don’t like me, we have an antagonistic relationship where we tend to fight, put each other down and try to harm the other person psychologically, emotionally or socially. Can you think of someone or people who bring this out in you? It’s probably not hard to do in today’s world. We’ve allowed ourselves to become divided over everything, and for whatever reason, people who see the situation differently than we do, bring out the worst in us. So many of us are walking time bombs just waiting for the right person to rub us the wrong way and boom! We go off unleashing a tirade of words and actions we’ll regret later.

In Matthew 5, Jesus was giving the Sermon On The Mount. It’s most famous for the Beatitudes that He started off with, but as He kept going, He began to challenge the way we think and live, especially our self righteous attitudes. In verses 43-45, He said, “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves” (MSG). Love your enemies? Your political ones? Your religious ones? Your social ones? Yes. And the word “love” here is the agape love. This isn’t an emotional love like you would have for a spouse or family member. This love is one where you do things for the benefit of another person, have concern for their well being and seek the best for them. He’s talking about doing that for the ones who disagree with you on every level.

I know this is hard, but it’s the lesson Jesus has been trying to get us to adopt for 2,000 years at least. Why? Because when we act in anger, we’re identifying with the fingerprint of Adam in our life instead of God’s fingerprint. He said that when we respond in love, we’re working out our true selves that were made in the image of God. Remember, it was while we were enemies of God that He gave His one and only Son. He gave us His best when we were at odds with Him and didn’t deserve it. When we look past the differences we see in those we don’t agree with or we feel are out to harm us, we will see the image, or fingerprint, of God in them. Start by praying for them, not to see things the way you do, but for their brokenness to be healed. Pray for God’s blessings on their life. As you pray for them, and seek the best for them unselfishly, you will notice a change in you and them, most notably in your heart.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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Be Ye Kind

One of the Fruits of the Spirit that seems to be ever diminishing in our world today is kindness. With having placed an importance on other fruits, the ability to be friendly, generous and considerate to others, especially those we disagree with, has escaped us. Instead, many of us have adopted the “kill or be killed” attitude as a defense mechanism. That’s the opposite of what Jesus taught. He told us to love our enemies, and to do good to them expecting nothing in return. We are not to repay evil for evil, but are to be kind to even those who are against us. Why? Because we are a reflection of the Father, and the Bible says that it’s God’s kindness that leads us (and our enemies) to repentance.

Jesus even told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It was the Samaritan who was honored in the story because he showed kindness to his neighbor. If we are on,y being kind to those who like us, how are we any different than the world? The great news is that Holy Spirit is at work in your life. Ask Him to plant seeds of kindness in your heart so He can produce that fruit. Each of us can stand to be more kind to others. In today’s world, that would really cause us to stand out, but it would also help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Kindness matters, and so do the eternal destiny of every person around you. God’s desire is that none would perish, so let’s show His kindness to everyone we meet.

Here are some Bible verses on kindness.

1. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.

Ephesians 4:32 TPT

2. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.

Zechariah 7:9 NLT

3. But I say to you who hear [Me and pay attention to My words]: Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, [make it a practice to] do good to those who hate you, bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

LUKE 6:27-28 AMP

4. By our purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness we have shown ourselves to be God’s servants—by the Holy Spirit, by our true love, by our message of truth, and by the power of God. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves.

2 Corinthians 6:6-7 GNT

5. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do.

1 Corinthians 16:14 TPT

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

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Grab Your Sword!

Have you ever been so angry with someone you sat there and plotted ways to pay them back? I have. I’ve plotted ways where I wouldn’t get caught, ways that would hurt them worse than they hurt me and ways that were they would know to never do something to me again. I used to say, “I don’t get even, I get ahead!” It’s crazy how clouded our mind gets when we’ve been hurt by someone. Reason goes out the window and we have a laser focus (tunnel vision) on hurting them back. We don’t care who gets caught in the wake as long as that person suffers.

I know I can’t be the only one who has ever felt this way. Maybe you’ve experienced it too. I know David did in I Samuel 25. He had protected a man’s property while running from Saul and living in the wilderness. He was hungry so he sent servants to ask for food as repayment. The man whose property he protected replied, “Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheep shearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on?” David took that as a slap in the face for all he had done for him. Without hesitation, David said, “Get your swords!”

His first instinct was to repay this man evil for evil. Eye for an eye. Tit for tat. His anger blinded him. He got 400 of his strongest men and headed for that man. If he wasn’t going to give it freely, David was going to kill him and take it. We act the same way when we’re angry. Only around here, we don’t say, “Get your swords,” we say, “Grab your gun!” Violence seems to be our answer when someone has made us mad. We hit a wall, stomp our feet into the ground, punch something, scream out loud and display our displeasure any way we can. We want people to know we’re really mad.

That’s opposite of what God wants us to do. God says, in Deuteronomy 32:35, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will over take them.” The problem is we want them to have pay back now. We want to be the ones delivering it, but that’s not God’s way. That’s not God’s timing. In the New Testament, God reaffirms this message through Paul. Romans 12:17-18 says, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

God doesn’t want us grabbing our swords (or guns) to pay back what someone did to us. He wants us to calm down, breathe and trust that He will handle it “in due time.” Proverbs 22:1 says that a good reputation is more important than riches. We lose our reputation when we go around paying people back. In turn, we tarnish God’s name. By the way, that man’s wife stopped David from killing her husband and everyone else. The next day, the man had a stroke and died. Instead of having murder on his hands, he maintained a pure heart before God. Instead of reaching for your sword next time someone hurts you, reach for patience instead. Let God have it.

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