TITLE: Forgiving My Secret Enemy
By Mishael Witty
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“Someone told my mom that they were glad Jim broke up with you before you could break his heart,” my current boyfriend told me one evening.
“What?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“You have a reputation of taking guys just so far and then dumping them.”
“I have a reputation? But that’s totally untrue. How could I possibly have a reputation like that? Yeah, maybe when I was in college, sure, but not now – certainly not since I’ve been going to the church, and certainly not with Jim.”
How could he just sit there so calmly? Why did he feel the need to tell me this? I could have just gone on thinking everyone in the church liked me, which I was naïve enough to think they did. All I had ever tried to do during my time as a member there was serve God the best way I knew how, and suddenly I find out that someone at the church was reveling in the fact that my heart had been broken just months before I was to be married to a man I had loved more than anyone else for more than two years - and all because of my false reputation. I dated a few guys during my time as a member of the church, but not that many and I certainly wasn’t out to just use them, but someone thought I was.
“Who said this to your mom?” I asked him.
“She wouldn’t say who. I asked, but she wouldn’t say.”
“Oh, so she’ll gossip, but only so far. That’s just great! I have a right to know!”
“Honey, I can try to ask her again, but I don’t think she’ll tell me.”
“No. Forget it. That’s fine. I’ll just have to pray for whomever it was who told your mom that, and I’ll have to forgive them. After all, God tells us to forgive and pray for our enemies. Huh! I didn’t even know I had any enemies!”
It wasn’t as easy as that. It wasn’t fine, and I didn’t forget about it – not for weeks. I cried and struggled and prayed. I thought about trying to find another church, but something told me that it was likely I would find the same problems at any church. I attended my own church only on Wednesday nights during that time because the music minister asked me to sing on the worship team. While I stood up there on the platform and sang, I looked down on the faces staring back up at me, wondering if one of those faces belonged to my betrayer. I hardly talked to anybody, except for the people who cornered me in the sanctuary or the hallways - people who I had once considered my friends. Some of them still were, I was sure, but which ones? Was one of them my secret enemy?
And then it happened. God came and met me in the face of my friend, Kathy. She came up to me one night before the service and asked me how I was doing – asked if I had any prayer requests, so I briefly told her about my situation. She prayed for me right there, and I knew that I would still be on her heart even after she left the church. An amazing amount of God’s peace poured down on me then, and it struck me – with true friends like these, who cares if you have enemies?
That night, I thanked God for my friend Kathy, and I prayed that He would help me to forgive my accuser. I still don’t know who made that comment to my boyfriend’s mother, but I don’t feel the burning desire to know anymore. God helped to free me from that bitterness, and He left me with a verse, Galatians 1:10 (NIV): Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God, or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I understand now that I can’t please everyone all the time, and that there will always be someone who doesn’t like me, but I don’t have to worry about everyone liking me. I know that God loves me, and all I have to do is focus on being the best servant I can. He’ll take care of the rest.
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