I encounter a number of difficult people in my job. Offering service to people in high stress times in their lives means that I often speak with people who are at the end of their rope. They don’t necessarily want to hear what I have to say, they just want me to fix things. Explanations about changes taking time and requiring things from them aren’t always well received.
The Bible is clear, however, that we are to love our enemies. Now, ‘enemies’ strikes me as a harsh word, one that describes parties in armed conflict or people who truly hate one another. In order to better grasp this concept and its applicability to my own life, I have been conceptualizing ‘enemies’ as those with whom I experience conflict. Under this definition, the Bible calls me to love those with whom I have conflict.
I have been thinking on this lately, the idea of loving others and treating them as I would wish to be treated and I realized something. When I love my enemies, I tend to stop seeing them as enemies. When I love those with whom I have conflict, I pray for them, I pray for God to change my perspective, and my heart attitude towards those people changes. It does not necessarily solve the conflict, but it certainly changes my emotional state. When I love my enemies, I no longer have enemies.
I see what you did there, Jesus.
Matthew 5:43 & 7: 12
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.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.