Enemy is a strong word. When I think of war, I think of an enemy like ISIS! The term “enemy” also makes me think of people who maybe don’t think like me (politically), or act like me (socially), or agree with me (spiritually). I might describe them as a “soft” adversary/enemy who don’t necessarily threaten me physically. I could also count those people who have directly or indirectly hurt me or people I love as my enemies as well.
All the enemies I have described really challenge my heart as a Christian. The real test for me today is to live and apply the scripture found in Matthew 5: 43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Hurt, whether it be physical or emotional, or the threat of real danger evokes all kinds of STRONG emotions in me…….emotions that are really TOO BIG, in human strength, for me to handle. It is for sure a God-sized task and a test of my will.
From the get go with Back 9 Ministries, I decided to write and “live out loud,” translating to “writing out loud”. So, if I am being truly honest, in the last couple of years…I must say….I have come face to face with Satan over his tempting me to GLOAT…when my enemy falls. In Proverbs 24:17 it states, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.” In the last 2 to 3 years I have struggled and fought the temptation to “gloat” when my perceived human enemy has fallen or gets what I think they deserve.
This temptation keeps me on my knees and, to be honest…I have been obedient to pray for my enemies but I have done it “kicking and screaming.” To further be honest, my prayers have been just like this, “Lord, I don’t like ……….. In fact Lord, I can hardly be around…………. Or, Lord….I don’t know what I would do if I saw …………, but you tell me to pray for them….so Lord….bless them even though I don’t feel like asking You to do this…it is only because You tell me to…….And, Lord…if they don’t know You, which by the way…they don’t because of what they did. Just thought I would tell you that as well, help them to come to know You! Amen!”
That is just one example of the prayers I have prayed along with, “Lord, I know you don’t like ugly….and so and so has acted real ugly……and help me not to gloat.” Sometimes when I have caved and gloated for a moment or so, I have had to quickly say, “Forgive me for rejoicing when they fall.” YEP, to be honest…”I am guilty of gloating when I see my enemy fall.”
I have to ask the Lord at times to help me see the difference between me being happy when “justice” is served and “gloating.” Honestly, He is still showing me. I know there are saints in the Bible like David who prayed for God to take care of the enemy…..and to protect and defeat the enemy…but God wants us to put it into His hands. Our minds and actions…and purpose….need to focus on the positive–things He has for us to do–leave the outcome of an enemy situation with Him.
We are also taught in scripture in Proverbs 24:19, “Do not fret because of evil doers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.” It continues to teach in verse 21, “Fear the Lord and the king, my son and do not join with rebellious officials, for those two [the Lord and King] will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?” In other words…this scripture says…it is better to trust the Lord and leave it to Him….put your mind and heart to other things…you can trust Him with your enemies….FRET NOT.
So here again…God has been refining me to “drop my hands,” let God be God and show me that I need to “give up” my will to His. Where am I today? God is so faithful to our obedience even if we do obey and have to wait on our “feelings to catch up!” That is where I am…..my feelings are starting to catch up.
I can honestly say…my desire is to be like Jesus when He was hanging on the cross in agony and said, “Forgive them. They know not what they do!” That is where Jesus wants my heart to be. When my heart is there, He can take me to a new and deeper intimate relationship with Him.
Point–Where are you with your feelings and emotions and actions towards your enemies? I can honestly say…be obedient to God’s word, even if you don’t “FEEL” like it. Sometimes….God wants us to act in obedience and trust HIm with changing our “feelings” after we have obeyed…I can testify to that being what I am currently experiencing….Obedience sometimes has to precede feelings.
Blessings and prayers for you to experience not only forgiving your enemies, but God taking you to new places with HIM.