Fred spent little time holding on to grudges. He understood the proper role of those who are enemies and the power of “staying in the state of forgiveness.” At age five, Fred lost the use of his right hand. Through childhood he was limited in his physical activities and was exposed to taunting. He chose to view his disability as a “fact of life, not a problem” because “a fact of life is something you cannot change; a problem is something you can solve.”
Bearing An Enemy’s Burden
The acid of enmity is a heavy burden. Being commanded to “bear one another’s burdens,” we bear an enemy’s burden of hatred toward us as one way of helping them with their burden…for certainly hatred is a burden.
When I am with a man who dislikes me, I can forget his hatred of me as soon as I leave – but he has to carry it with him always. As I pray for him to have a lighter burden, I pray to have a lighter enemy.
Most of us would like to be more objective in our evaluation of people. We respect those who can truly and sanely differentiate between the strength and weaknesses of others. Nowhere are we tested more in this than in objectively evaluating our enemies.
I remember wartime posters which depicted the political enemy as a demented animal, leering out at us who were clearly God’s chosen people. We forget that the posters in their countries see us in the same evil way.
Enemies are seldom objective, yet our enemies give us the opportunity to practice our objectivity at the point of greatest stress. I think of Anwar Sadat’s ability to establish a relationship with their greatest traditional enemy, Israel. His famous comment reflected his strength: “There is no way to peace for peace is the way.”
We develop maturity in the approach we take with our enemies, never denying they exist, nor letting their opinion count so much with us that it keeps us from doing what we ought to do, but working to find common ground – and sometimes even friendship. When we are trained to disregard our enemies as liabilities we lose the great value they can bring to our growth.
Enemies are the opposite bank of our stream. They define our existence more nearly than we could or would do. Gain the value from enemies while striving to make them friends. We are advised to live peacefully with all men when possible. I am convinced this means we are to be active peacemakers.
None of us is so correct, proper, or personable that the attack of an enemy cannot cause us to do objective thinking about ourselves – and that is always a good thing.
Think carefully about: 1) How objectively do I think about an enemy? 2) Who is on both my enemy and prayer list? 3) Where am I wanting to gain objectivity?
Words of Wisdom: “Enemies are the opposite bank of our stream.”
Wisdom from the Word: “But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44 NET Bible)
News Line: ••• 2/18/14; Tackling the subject of “Christians in Business,” Brenda A. Smith’s new blog explains some of the daily issues we encounter.Click here to go to this blog.
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