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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”—Proverbs 25:21 (NKJV)
Growing up, I encountered a lot of people I considered enemies. There were bullies in the neighborhood, mean kids at school, and a drunk stepfather at home who verbally abused us. As I got older, my list of enemies seemed to grow—and my ability to tolerate them didn’t. Instead, a growing anger stirred inside of me.
As a non-Christian young man growing up in a volatile home situation, my response to enemies was quite simple: revenge. I would go out of my way to make people pay for what I calculated to be an injustice toward me. I spent unnecessary time and energy formulating plans for retribution. Sadly, this lifestyle caused me a world of stress and a lack of peace.
It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I realized the error in my thinking and behavior. It was then that I understood my own sinful behavior was offensive and at times even abominable to Christ—and yet He still saw enough potential in me to pursue a love relationship with me. Christ created me with a great purpose, and He looked beyond my poor choices and sin nature and saw who I could become.
I learned that Christ died on the cross for me—even though I was an enemy of God (Romans 5:10). But Christ never treated me as an enemy; He unconditionally loved me. He considered me His joy, even as he endured my shame on the cross (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Coming to terms with that reality shifted my mindset regarding my perceived adversaries. Christ looked upon us and saw potential. He sees past our brokenness and views us as His bride.
What if we did the same thing? What if we viewed every adversary as a potential friend? Man, this world would be a lot different. We’d have a lot less stress and way more peace! It’s difficult, but it’s certainly worth the effort.
DIG: Read Matthew 5:43-48 and Romans 12:14-21.
DISCOVER: Honestly examine whether you find it difficult to demonstrate love toward your enemies or even those in your family who may strongly and unjustly oppose you.
DISPLAY: Would you be willing to go out of your way to show kindness toward someone in your life who may not deserve it? Try it this week!