(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 2)
I have had a tendency to be preoccupied with figuring out who were my enemies and what the people I perceived as my enemies were doing to discredit me. I would worry myself wondering, what is this one scheming? What is that one planning? From what direction would he or she launch the next attack?
Then I reminded myself of God’s Word, which says that we ought to trust God at all times and in everything (Psalm 62:8). Surely, if I could trust him with my salvation, my one day resurrection, to choose a spouse for me and then to present me to him, then certainly, I could trust him with my enemies.
There was no need for me to become anxious over people and their motives because God was already in control. Philippians 4:6-7 states:
- “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Although I have limited knowledge and therefore don’t know all things, HE knows everything. Although I may not be able to read people’s hearts or to tell how they really feel about me or what they may have done or said about me, HE has a perfect record.
This was comforting to know because no longer would I need to determine what box to put someone in or whether someone I had previously placed in my enemy box had been sufficiently worked on by God, no longer meant me harm and could therefore be put in the friend box.
That was all too tiring!
First of all, if I follow what God says in terms of how I am to treat all mankind, I need not categorize people into anything. He says to love everybody, even those that hate or dislike me. Even where he has allowed me to see that someone is my enemy therefore (because they have positioned themselves against me), I am to bless that person still and treat them kindly.
Matthew 5: 44-45 states:
- “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
One of the reasons God wants us to live this way is so that we would not spend time worrying about who was for us or against us. God knows how people feel about us and that is sufficient.
I therefore decided that I was going to trust God with my enemies. By that, I mean:
- I was going to trust him to categorize the people in my life into whatever boxes He wanted. If he decided to put someone I am affiliated with in the enemy box because that person has decided to position himself or herself as my enemy, then so be it. Whatever assessments God makes are accurate.
- I was going to trust him even when I did not understand why some people had positioned themselves against me and disliked or hated me. No longer was I going to waste time wondering why they disliked me or why they rejected me or why this or why that. Sometimes you do people absolutely nothing, you show them nothing but kindness and they still hate you or harbour resentment for you. Jesus Christ was perfect and even he had enemies, so who am I? I no longer need to know why. All I need to know is that Jesus has got it.
- I was going to trust him without worrying what my enemies were up to, how they were planning to sabotage me, what nasty things they had said or were saying or would say about me or how they were undermining me behind my back. Irrespective of what people were concocting or what the evil in their heart may have been scheming, I was going to treat every person well and pursue peace. Of course, I would still apply wisdom and be on my guard when interacting with those God revealed to me were coming in what seemed like a spirit of peace but really wished me evil and were out to destroy me.
- I was going to trust God to protect me despite whatever damage and pain my enemies may have inflicted and to handle ALL of the situation as he saw fit. He is the righteous Judge so I was in good hands, once I was innocent and had not wickedly pursued someone and positioned myself as his or her enemy. He is a God that justifies and rewards in due course.
- I was going to trust God in the face of blatant attacks, to grow my love to the point where it would cover the multitude of wrongs done against me, so that I would not become bitter but better. My enemies were going to be the perfect opportunity for me to grow spiritually by helping me to practice meting out large doses of love, understanding, mercy, compassion and forgiveness, even to those who may not want it. The devil may intend it for evil but God always turns it around for my good.
- I was going to trust God to reveal to me when someone had genuinely repented of hating on me and is no longer my enemy. This is important given that sometimes, God removes people from our enemy list because they have seen the error of their ways are filled with remorse, have cried their hearts out to God, have told him they are sorry and now genuinely wish us well, even praying for our well-being, when before, they rejoiced in our adversities. Yet, we keep them on the enemy list we have in our heads because we feel it is safer to do so. This is where forgiveness, mercy and discernment come in. I want to be mindful of the fact that people change and grow everyday and if someone is a genuine Christian but yet positioned himself or herself as my enemy, at some point, God will intervene to deal with him or her, will find ways (sometimes painful) to get through to them and it usually ends in his or her repentance and a genuine change of heart. We should therefore be looking for indications of this and ask God to let us know if this is the case.
(Written on 19th May, 2016)