Posts Tagged ‘Enemies

08
Aug
17

Showing Kindness To Enemies

When someone treats you like an enemy, the last thing you want to do is be kind to them. We’d much rather try to get revenge on those who harm us. Solomon said that we should be kind and show compassion to our enemies. He wrote:

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you. – Proverbs 25:21-22 (NIV)

Notice that there are two things that will happen when we show kindness to our enemies and adversaries. First, we heap proverbial burning coals on their head. They may feel guilt and shame over how they have treated you. Second, the Lord will reward you. God does not reward vengeance. Instead, He rewards kindness and compassion. Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. We do this by showing kindness to them, not in seeking revenge.
14
Feb
17

Dining With The Lord

David switches gears from a sheep to the guest of honor at a banquet given by God.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies – Psalm 23:5a (ESV)

David’s enemies have surrounded him, but God has led him through the valley of the shadow of death. God has led him to a place of safety and security. Now, at this place, God has prepared for him a banquet where all his enemies can do is look on in annoyed frustration. God is protecting David and He is blessing David. If you have enemies, remember that Jesus tells us that we must love them and pray for them. We need to let God deal with our enemies as we patiently wait for that banquet to be prepared. God will protect us and provide for us as He has promised to do. Your enemies will have to look on at your prosperity as God takes care of you.
16
Nov
16

Sometimes Friendship Hurts

There are two verses that deal with friendship in Proverbs 27.  One is obvious and the other not as much.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses. (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)

As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)

I think that these two verses are related to one another.  The first tells us that when a true friend offers constructive criticism, we can trust them.  Though it may sting for a moment, the reality of the situation is that they are looking out for our best interests.  This goes along with the second verse.  Those who truly care about us will want the best for us.  They will sharpen us like iron against a sword’s blade.
We all have blind spots in our lives.  There are things we are doing that will cause us harm, but we may not be able to see them as well as others see them.  Listen to your trusted friends when they point out the blind spots in your life.  If you’re behaving in a destructive way, listen to those who are trying to protect you.  Listen to those who truly care about you.  Your true friends won’t flatter you only to watch you fall flat on your face. Those who really care about you will help you see where you are stumbling so that you will be as sharp a sword you can be.  Listen to your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Those in your church family should truly care about you and have your best interests at heart.  Philippians 2:4 says that we should not look out only for our own interests, “but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, NIV).  So if someone is trying to sharpen you, listen and heed their advice.  If you see someone stumbling and in need of sharpening, sharpen them!  Rebuke them and correct them in a grace-filled, loving way.  We need to look out for each other and help each other as we journey through this life and into life eternal.
PRAYER: Lord God, help me to be a good friend to the people in my life. Help me to put others first today in my relationships. Thank You for the friends I have in my life. Amen.
26
Apr
16

Your Enemy/Neighbor

Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The parable of the good Samaritan is quite familiar to Christians.  The phrase, “good Samaritan” is well-known to many who are not believers.  We associate that phrase with someone who does a kind deed for a stranger.  That’s not what Jesus had in mind.  True, the Samaritan in His story did not know the individual he helped.  They were strangers.  But they were more than strangers.  They were enemies.
The expert in the law (what we would consider to be a lawyer) was testing Jesus.  He wanted to know Jesus’ thoughts on what it takes to go to Heaven.  Jesus turns the tables on him and asks him for his opinion first.  The lawyer answers with a very good answer from the Old Testament books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

– Luke 10:27 (NIV)
Jesus commends him on his correct answer.  Then the lawyer wants to impress Jesus by asking a profound question:

And who is my neighbor? – Luke 10:29 (NIV)

Jesus, as He often did, tells him a story that we know as the parable of the good Samaritan.  We may think of this parable as a nice little story about two men who were unwilling to help a man in need and one kindly Samaritan who helped the beaten and battered man.  That is far from what was actually going on in Jesus’ day.  The priest goes by and then the Levite.  They are on their way from Jerusalem to Jericho.  They both served in the temple.  The priests were considered the most holy men of their day.  Levites were next to them in holiness since they also served in the temple.
Then the Samaritan happens to pass by.  One commentator said that Jews and Samaritans “despised” each other.  These guys are enemies.  We’re talking Packers’ fans and Bears’ fans times 10!  They hated each other!  The Samaritan, despite his peoples’ hatred of Jews, has compassion on the half dead man.  He goes above and beyond what any human being would do for someone else.  This despised Samaritan becomes the hero of the story!  What do you think was going on in the minds and hearts of those who were hearing this story?  Anger!  Blood boiling!  Teeth clenched!  Jesus asks the lawyer:

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? – Luke 10:36 (NIV)

The lawyer can’t even bring himself to say the word, “Samaritan.”  He says:

The one who had mercy on him. – Luke 10:37a (NIV)

Then Jesus frosts the cake with, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37b, NIV).  Jesus tells this Jewish lawyer, “Be like the Samaritan.”  OH!  How it must have burned his ears to hear such a thing!
So what about you?  Who is your neighbor?  Who needs you to be the conduit of God’s love and mercy today?  It’s probably the person you either least expect or least want to show it to.  That’s the person Jesus wants you to love today.
PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, help me to love the people I don’t want to love today.  In Your name, amen.
13
Mar
16

Loving Your Enemies

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  This message is based on Matthew 5:43-48 and Dave Willis’ book, “The 7 Laws Of Love.”

20
Jan
16

God Will Deal With His Enemies

Micah 7:8-13 (NIV)

Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
    Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
    the Lord will be my light.
Because I have sinned against him,
    I will bear the Lord’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
    and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
    I will see his righteousness.
10 Then my enemy will see it
    and will be covered with shame,
she who said to me,
    “Where is the Lord your God?”
My eyes will see her downfall;
    even now she will be trampled underfoot
    like mire in the streets.

11 The day for building your walls will come,
    the day for extending your boundaries.
12 In that day people will come to you
    from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
even from Egypt to the Euphrates
    and from sea to sea
    and from mountain to mountain.
13 The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants,
    as the result of their deeds.

God is able to take the worst of circumstances and turn them around for the ultimate good.  God’s people were going to experience the punishment of His wrath for their disobedience and sinfulness.  Yet God was not done with them.  He would not leave them in bondage and exile.  He would redeem them and He would deal with Israel’s enemies.  
No matter who comes against God’s people, He has the final word.  If God’s people will do what is right, He will defend their cause.  We do not have to worry about revenge against our enemies.  God says that He will repay those who do evil.  We can trust God to deal with those who come against us.  We are called to live lives of righteousness and holiness.  We are called to be blameless.  Let us do what is right and let God worry about our enemies.  We have to trust and believe that He is in control, in charge and in command.  
 
PRAYER: Lord God, I know that You are in control of everything.  There is nothing that escapes Your vision.  You are aware of the persecution of Your people.  Help me to know that You will defend my cause and deal with Your enemies.  I want to live in a way that pleases You.  Help me to be holy.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.
18
Nov
15

Praying For Who?

Do you have an enemy?  Is there someone in your life with whom you butt heads constantly?  No matter how you try, you just can’t seem to get along.  They seem to oppose your every thought and deed.  They gossip about you.  They stab you in the back.  They try to sabotage your life at every turn.  How should we respond to these people?  How should we treat them?  According to Solomon, we should treat them with kindness.  Look at verses 21-22 of Proverbs 25:

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.  (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

There are two benefits to treating our enemies with kindness.
  1. You will “heap burning coals on his head.”  (While you may want to do this literally, it is probably best to do it figuratively.)  The hope is that your enemy will realize the error of their ways and a relationship can be forged or restored.
  2. “The Lord will reward you” is a great promise that goes along with the first benefit.  God sees everything!  He sees how they’ve hurt you.  He knows what’s going on.  He will not only repay the wicked for the evil they’ve done, but He will reward you for responding in kindness.

In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  It’s hard.  Praying for your enemies and persecutors is very, very difficult.  Showing God’s love to our friends is a whole lot easier than demonstrating kindness to our enemies.  Let us seek to please the Lord today by showing His love to everyone, friend and foe alike.

PRAYER: Lord God, I pray today for my enemies and ask that You would help me to show Your love and kindness to everyone I come into contact with today.  Help me to be a shining light for Jesus, even to those who oppose me.  I know that You are a God of justice and that those who do evil will not escape Your judgment.  I also know that I will not escape Your judgment for You are the Judge of all.  I thank You for loving me when I was once Your enemy and for forgiving me when I came to Jesus.  In His name I pray, amen.




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