People are everywhere and we have to deal with people all the time!
If I just stop for a moment and ponder, how do I manage dealing with people? I may look at it from all different points of view, if at home, it can be rather straight forward, if it is at work, it depends on the role I play and if I have a controlling position, it is rather easy to say that dealing with people can be managed ‘my way’, or if it is with friends or society in general, I have a choice as to whom I can choose as my friends!
Well, there is also the other aspect when we encounter individuals who come to us and want to be our friends or they want some help or they even can be those who want to find all the wrongs about us and tell us how crazy we are and this latter group is probably the group that I would try to stay away from all the time!
Last morning during our devotion, we came across a very familiar passage that we often read past, because are quick to say to one another, ‘oh, we have no enemies, this is actually for those people who really have enemies‘!
My curiosity got me thinking, what is the actual meaning of ‘enemy‘ and I was pleasantly surprised! https://www.dictionary.com/browse/enemy and I quickly realized that it is rather convenient for us to push this word aside because the reality is that almost all the time, we are faced with ‘enemies’!
I recall an incident when I was speaking on my mobile phone whilst walking on a pedestrian crossing and was mid-way when a driver deliberately drove toward me, raised his middle finger, saw him swearing with the movements on his lips, then swerved to avoid hitting me and drove away.
I was furious because I was legally correct, I was crossing the road at the designated place and the driver should have stopped for me to cross the road. I turned around and screamed at the passing driver, was sweating with rage and later was explaining the incident to a friend who gently reminded me that it was against the law to cross a main road talking on a mobile phone!
How often are we faced with people who find fault with us – ALL THE TIME! In fact, when I come to think of it, it is probably a good thing when people find our faults and talk about it because they are genuinely trying to help us become better people! Again, I think about it, these are people who either dislike us or hate us. Yet, they are pointing out our faults and therefore, shouldn’t I pause and think about it? I know my pride does not let me look at the mirror! However, If I can look at it just in this way, that the comments about me are helping me to be a better person, I guess then, I can comfortably relate to the verse ‘do good to those who hate you‘!
Thank God for our enemies – Because of our enemies, we gain patience, grace, wisdom, strength and creativity.
Didn’t God say to Abram “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse“? So can I have assurance that if anyone will curse us, we can also pray that the person can be cursed, just like what I always do? Sadly, this is not what I found out because, Paul in his letter to the Romans clearly explained that ‘it is God who will take revenge, it is He who will repay‘ and it is surely not for us to do this part! And despite God saying this, he also shows us who He really is, because what He also says is “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion“.
The more someone hurts me, yes I am called to do good to them and it further continues to verse 28 reminding me that, ‘I am also called to bless those who curse me‘! The second part of that verse tells us to pray for them too!
Like me and just like all of us, Jeremiah did what other godly men in the Bible did – he looked to God for protection and justice when persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Jeremiah, like all of us, could rightly say, “for Your sake I have suffered rebuke,” and he and us could also rightly entrust whatever vengeance was appropriate unto God’s care. Shouldn’t we?
However, we learn that yes, we may think this is the right thing to do and the more we are called to imitate Christ, the more we learn from His very own suffering what it means to ‘pray for our enemies’ just as Jesus cried out in prayer, “Father, forgive them“.
A person/s who brings harm to us can be our best friend. For sure, It all depends on how we respond to their cursing words and bitter actions toward us. Rather than us curse them, let's bless them. Rather than us retaliate, let's pray for them.