Who Is Your Enemy, Anyway?
by Freddie Steel
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Who Is Your Enemy Any Way?
Freddie Steel - November 20, 2008
Battle and demarcation lines seem to be ever increasingly drawn between groups and factions. It might be that we have become accustomed to judging people by appearance and labels only. For instance, in America our vehicles are the single most important status statements followed closely by the neighborhood or house we life in. If we see a humble-looking site on the interstate highway, someone in an earlier model vehicle that lacks many of the new toys and accessories, it might be easy to feel sorry for or impatient with that one who is not in the same echelon and stream that the rest of prosperous, in-the-know Americans do.
Last night I was in a grocery store in an up-scale neighborhood waiting in line to check out. The customer at the check-out appeared to be in her late sixties and appeared to also be someone of a lower-income bracket. I noticed that her hair had been colored and needed a ‘touch up.’ The gentleman just in front of me turned around after we had been standing in line a good while and introduced himself by saying ’hey, did you notice that hair style up front’? He was, for some reason, disgusted with the elderly ladies appearance. Wow, the affinity that this man made with a sister of society was in the form of criticism, criticism for someone he didn’t know and for whom I felt compassion because she appeared to be someone in need.
Unfortunately, the church wrestles with some of the same – judging by sight that is. I liken this to what occurred during World War II. Sharp divisions existed between high-ranking military leaders who were preoccupied with egos, pride, prejudice, and self-interests insomuch that decisions were influenced and made to save face, advance self interests, etc. and thousands of young lives were needlessly lost. You could say that we helped the enemy by turning against one another and by losing sight of who the real enemy was.
Who Is Your Enemy?
The enemy is not our brothers or sisters in Christ. I encourage the church to find common ground to use as the foundation for fellowship. When a person or a church believes in the inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth and the sinless life of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, the grounds for fellowship are established.
An interpretation of Scriptures that is slightly or somewhat different from yours (but does include the tenets stated above) does not make your enemy or require that you defend your view and interpretation.
Your enemy is not the multitudes and masses that rail against or find themselves indifferent to God and His Son, Jesus. If they rail against you and hate you and the God you serve, they still aren’t your enemy. Those involved in aborting babies or sexual perversions are not your enemies. If they aren’t your enemies then, who are they?
These that I listed just above are not your enemies, but those for whom Jesus had compassion and died so as to give them eternal life. Those who betrayed Him were not His enemies. Those who cursed Him, spit on Him, beat and flogged Him were not His enemies. The leaders in government were not His enemies. Jesus loved them all and saw them not so much as evil or undeserving but as those dying of thirst for the life-giving water that would heal and change their lives. For God so loved them, even when they / we were unlovable and trapped in sin, that He gave.
Jesus And His Enemies –
What did Jesus do for those who mocked, scourged, and killed Him? He loved them, He prayed for them, He had compassion on them, and He served them.
Jesus came to love and to give. Then, He gave to us His ministry and the assignment to a ministry of reconciliation: reconciling men’s broken fellowship with Father God and restoring them to Father God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
Bridge Builders And Water Boys –
We are bridge builders and water boys. For the world, we are building a bridge back to the Father constructed of His love and mercy. Remember, bridges get walked on and walked across. We are also water boys / girls and have buckets of life-giving Water to share with anyone, anywhere, at anytime. We are not repulsed by their thirst or condition, but we are moved with compassion as Jesus was and we see people who are simply dying of thirst for what we claim we have – Living Water.
The story is told of a young lady and an officer in the Japanese Air Force during World War II. The young lady was the daughter of missionaries serving in the Philippines. When the Japanese landed in the Philippines, the missionary family and others headed to the mountains to hide in safety. The Japanese found them and a radio in their possession. Though it was only a regular radio, they were accused of being spies and that the radio also transmitted. The Japanese killed the missionary parents in front of their daughter.
The young lady was being consumed with hatred for the Japanese and what they did to her family. She asked God how she could be free from the hatred in her heart. God inspired her to push past her hurts and serve those who directly or indirectly were responsible for her parent’s murder.
She started working as a volunteer in a Prisoner of War camp for Japanese officers. She graciously served them daily. One day, the officer who led the air attack on Pearl Harbor asked her why she was serving them so graciously and did she not know they were the enemy. She told the officer her story and that she started being healed of her hatred for them when she began serving them. She told the Japanese officer that she forgave him and that she loved him.
Such displays of grace were not common. In this case, the officer was so overwhelmed with the young missionary’s story and service that it convinced Him that her God was real and He accepted Christ as his Savior. The story is told in the book ‘God’s Samurai.’
Pray for, bless, and do good for those who hate you and use you. That formula worked then and it will work well now – who can withstand that kind of love?
________________________________________ Bishop Freddie Steel - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.lifeinchicago.org - www.freddiesteel.wordpress.com
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