I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst.
Sitting in my living room, on my couch, in front of my laptop, I try to imagine going to sleep tonight worried that someone might very well sneak into the house and murder me. Or steal my children. Or burn the house down. This is, after all, what I imagine an enemy might do. Why am I thinking about these things?
Simple: I’m trying to figure out whether or not I actually have enemies.
* * * * *
I just looked up the definition of an enemy. Apparently it is “one who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interests of another; a foe.” This is helpful. This means that even in small-town America, we have enemies.
The Cold Stone Creamery worker who skimps on the mix-ins.
The boss who uses their power and position to demean.
The ex whose diabolical schemes and hateful rhetoric keep us awake at night.
But for me, these are all theoretical examples (except for that first one). So who hates me? Who opposes my interests? Who intends me harm?
* * * * *
Two weeks ago we arrived at The Great Frederick Fair – it was my family’s 50th year as a vendor. My dad and I drove around the corner to our tent, ready to begin setting up, when something jumped out at me. There was a trailer parked right in front of our location.
I walked around it, I walked past it. Facing our location from the busiest thoroughfare, our tent was completely blocked from view. For as long as I could remember, we were on that corner, but now someone had changed something that would impact our livelihood. In my second year of writing full-time, I needed the money we would make at the fair this year. My blood started to boil. They were seriously opposing my interests.
Who are they? Why are they doing this? Last year the fair management moved us back to “make more room for pedestrians,” and now this year they go and stick one of their own trailers in that space!
I argued with them over and over in my mind. I got more and more angry.
We give them free pretzels! We take them sandwiches every night! That’s going to stop, I mumbled to myself. Then I remembered those words.
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it.
* * * * *
Brennan Manning asks the question, “Where then, (as Christians) have we failed? Simply in limiting our compassion. Compassion (has become) a gift we offer our friends.”
Do you want to change the world? Do you want to change this country, for the better? Do you want to be a positive influence to the neighbors on your street?
Start offering compassion, not only to your friends, but to your enemies as well. You’ll never regret it.
Who is your enemy?