Loving your “Enemy”
One day, my 8-year-old son wrote two notes. Being the attentive parents that we are (more my wife than I), we confiscated the notes. One note was to one friend, Bob, and said basically that I’m not your friend anymore, and you’re not Mike’s friend either, and only Mike and I are best friends. The second note was to Mike, and said not to be Bob’s friend anymore. He even signed the one to Bob: Love (crossed out) Jeremiah.
Before heading to work, I talked to him about it. I asked what’s going on, and he said that Bob made fun of Mike’s shoes so he’s mean. I tried explaining that people will be mean to him for life, it happens all the time, and the best thing to do is to accept this fact, and don’t fight back, rather move on. He didn’t like that answer. Then I asked him what he thought Jesus would do. He wasn’t sure so I explained that Jesus said to love your enemy.
He slapped his forehead and didn’t believe me. He left the room and came back with his Bible, and said show me (I love his eagerness to know the truth, and not simply trust my word for it). So I turned to Matthew 5:44 and read a few lines. He then wanted to see it and read it himself. I said read all the way to verse 48. He was bewildered.
I then headed off to work, but told him to think about it, and what it means to him.
My wife texted me a little later and said she and him had a conversation about it as well, and he couldn’t understand why the Bible would say that. It doesn’t make any sense! And alas, that’s the truth, sometimes the Bible doesn’t make any sense, but regardless its the truth.
Explore 1 Corinthians 13, what is Love? It’s not an emotion, it is action. Love is something to do, and doesn’t care what your mood is or how bad the other person is. In its perfection, Love is unconditional.
This made me think long and hard that day and since. How am I loving my enemies? Well, I don’t think I have any, I’m an easy person to get along with, and I seriously can’t think of anyone who I’d call my enemy.
Then I got thinking some more.
It’s easy for me to love my wife, and my kids, and my friends.But…
What about that stranger I’m behind in the grocery store who has 20 items in the express 12 items or less lane. Am I acting in Love when I grumble under my breath loud enough so they hear me?
What about that person I just clash with, our personalities are oil and water, we just can’t seem to get along so I avoid them. Is that Love to avoid them? It makes my life easy, but is Love selfish?
What about that family member that drives me nuts with their conversations, and their attitude. Easy for me to blow them off and ignore them. Am I Loving?
What about that person who I think is trying to be my friend? Since I don’t need any more friends, or see value in becoming their friend, I act polite and walk away as fast as I can. Love?
This is a tough one. Sometimes I think it’s easy, or almost romantic to say “I love my enemy”, but what about those who aren’t our enemies? Are we still loving them?