Monday, April 16, 2012

Love Your Enemy Step 1: Identify Your Enemy

It has been said to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. 

Jesus said to love your enemies. 

Step 1 I believe is to identify your enemies.  Admit to yourself who your enemies are so you can love them on purpose.  Aside from the more obvious enemies, who else counts?

I'm thinking about this lately.  To be a follower of Jesus means having to listen to one of his most basic and direct commands.  "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you."

But who is it?  I believe it is akin to the question asked of Jesus, "who is my neighbor?"  Jesus said even someone considered an enemy (a Samaritan) was a neighbor.  So we know our enemy can be our neighbor.  But what if your neighbor is your enemy?

What if you spouse is your enemy?  This certainly could more obviously be the case if you spouse has divorced you and is trying to get custody of your children or a substantial portion of your money.  But what if that is not the case?  What if you and your spouse have a very happy relation ship and he or she just keeps using all the hot water in the morning because they take too long a shower?

What if they ate all the brownies without you getting as many as you wanted?

What if they roll over and shake the bed and wake you up all the time?

What if they like the thermostat at a different level than you?

What level of love do they rightly deserve as commanded by Jesus?

I submit to you that in some sense, everyone is your enemy.  Each person on this planet is in some way in your way.  They may want your money, they may be driving too slow on the freeway in front of you, they may burn trash in their yard, they may be breathing your air, they may waste your time, and they may be doing whatever it is totally by accident without knowing they are inconveniencing you.

Love them. 

Stop and consider what it means for you to love them.

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