TITLE: Enemy Blessings
By Jude Harris
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Enemies are irritating and often destructive. Movies are filled with stories of revenge and most of us have had disturbing thoughts of payback, even if we’d never act on them. Wanting justice seems like such a good cause, but insidiously it's an alluring elixir that masks a poisonous drink. When we are focused on the injustice and the one who has inflicted harm, our distorted thinking can make a bad situation worse. How could such destructive people be a blessing? God uses all for our good, even our enemies.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
We must first acknowledge that we have no heaven nor hell to send anyone to. We do not have superpowers to read minds or motives. We don’t know the complexities of another’s heart, extremely limiting our ability to judge. Even when we see fruit we still don’t see the root. Feeling enlightened, we try to slip into God’s shoes to determine another's judgement. When we understand this is not our role, we can rest in the power and wisdom of God to be just. The blessing of not trying to take on God’s role gives us rest.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
It is not our job to avenge ourselves. With our limited abilities, we can never repay our enemies as nicely as God can. In the story of Esther, who but God could orchestrate such a great payback! Haman was bent on destroying not only Mordecai but his entire race! Only God could have Haman marching through the streets leading Mordecai on the king’s horse, shouting out his honor. And only God could have Haman hanging on the very gallows he’d prepared to hang Mordecai on. We may not see such clear and dramatic justice, but we can know that God is a just God. Far be it from us to get in his way and mess things up. The blessing of knowing God’s “got it” and we don’t have to worry about is comforting.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Believers are known for their love, for our God is love. Imagine bumping into our enemy on a golden street in heaven. If this makes us cringe, we do not know God, for God is love. Love is not constructed with willpower or a choice to forgive but with experiencing His love. God’s love flows from us when we know His love. So, when we are filled with bitterness we need to go sit on our Father’s lap and let him wrap His arms of love around us until we can love others. Enemies shine a light on our ability to love, and experiencing more of God’s love is sheer joy!
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Being mistreated gives us a special look into an enemy’s maturity. One of my worst enemies was a missionary and church organist. No one else could see the cruel and abusive behavior she inflicted on me. I had a window seat to the darkness of her soul that she concealed from others. I could pray for her more effectively and specifically. We may cryptically say: “I'll pray for you.” But to keep us from being self-righteous God asked us to bless them. We are more effective in our prayers for them when we aren’t being pharisaical. The blessing of blessing even our enemies is a profoundly healing balm.
But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Enemies enjoy the power they feel from seeing their victims react. But if you dismiss their attacks and invite them to continue in their abuse they are rendered powerless. We can do this when we wear God's armor. We can effectively say, "Give me your best shot!" confident in God's strength and power, not ours. Knowing God is more powerful, keeps us from making them into giants and distorting their power over us. The blessing of confidence is empowering.
Don’t give holy things to dogs, and don’t throw your pearls before pigs. Pigs will only trample on them, and dogs will turn to attack you.
Even David fled from Saul when he was trying to kill him. We must not be foolish and offer our hearts to enemies. This Scripture is not an excuse to call others pigs or dogs but is an illustration that what is sacred to us will not be understood by those intending harm. Their hard hearts and blindness prevents them from seeing you. They easily trample on what you hold dear. Too much energy is spent trying to be the Holy Spirit in convicting them of truth about ourselves or our experiences with them. We keep thinking if we explain it right or repeat ourselves that they’ll “get it.” It is a blessing of peace knowing it’s not our job to be the Holy Spirit to them.
Only an enemy can offer such opportunities to receive such wonderful blessings. When we bring our sorrows to God, trusting in his justice and letting His love saturate us, we will blossom into the beautiful masterpieces God designed us to be.
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