I Don't Want To
I can remember when I was a young child having to do things because my parents told me to do it. Washing dishes or cleaning my room were a couple of them. I did not understand why it was such a big deal but it was something my parents insisted that I do. “But I don’t want to do it right now” is what I was bold enough to say sometimes. It did not matter how I felt or what I wanted to do, I still ended up doing what I was told.
Somethings just never change.
Don’t we still have those moments as adults? Does your boss wants you to take on a new responsibility without extra pay? Your children may need help to do their math homework and who has time for that? Maybe your spouse wants you to do an activity with them that they enjoy doing but you don’t. Whatever the request may be, when we love that person enough or a consequence could follow, we will do what it takes even when we don’t want to. So why do we pause when God tells us to love our enemies?
Yes, I said love your enemies.
I can feel your hesitation as you are reading this. “You don’t know what they did to me!” “If you knew how I was treated..” Trust me, I understand wanting someone to suffer for their actions. The thing is, we can’t pick and choose which one of God’s commands we will obey, if we truly claim to follow Him. Somehow we can find the strength and energy to do what we don’t like doing for others in our life. Whether we do it out of love or to avoid punishment, we do it anyway. So why are we so quick to dismiss a request by the Creator of everything?
Okay, I will be the first to admit that this is pretty tough to do. God has tested me in this area and it was painful at first but it now brings me satisfaction. There is freedom in not holding a grudge against someone who has wronged you. Now don’t cut me off just yet. I think we tend to read too much into the statement. To love your enemy is not saying to become their friend or let them have access to you. It is simply releasing them of any offense they have against you. Whatever it is that they did to betray you and your trust, its an issue they have to deal with themselves. Though what they did or said may have hurt you in some way, you must be strong enough to not allow it to change your character.
Your enemies don’t deserve that much power.
Do you realize how much strength it takes to look someone in the eye who has betrayed you and smile? Better yet, wish them well. It requires so much courage not to retaliate against them and try to make them feel the pain that they made you feel. That in itself is showing love to your enemies. It is handing God your hurt and frustrations and trusting that it will all work out for your good.
Remember Jesus was betrayed by Judas, someone very close to him. Even though He had the power to stop Judas or even make him pay for his decision, this was not a concern of Jesus. He showed love to Judas by accepting a kiss on the cheek from him right before he turned against Him. Now if that doesn’t take some serious strength, I don’t know what does. Since Christ lives in us, we can tap into that same strength if we desire to do so.
In the end, Judas took his own life because the guilt of his actions weighed on him immensely. Though we hope not in the same fashion as Judas, your enemies will have to pay for their wrongs against you as well. Don’t worry about them thinking its something they will escape from or get over on.
They will reap what they sow.
Jesus knew that his enemy was a part of the plan for His destiny. That is how we have to look at our enemies because they are a stepping stone to get us to where we need to be. They have a purpose in our life. Whether it is to fine tune our attitude, push us out of our comfort zone, or to force us into becoming who God made us to be. At the end of the day, they are needed to get us to our next dimension. So don’t stoop to their level. Rise above the hate and show them some love.
In Relentless Pursuit,
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: 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 that person.” – Luke 6:27-28 MSG