Have you ever felt the attack of an enemy? Many of us have. Knowing that another person is angry with us can be very difficult and hard to handle. Whenever such times come into our lives, we can react in a number of ways:
- We can put up walls around us in order to protect ourselves from future invasions
- We can seek revenge
- Or, we can draw strength from the grace of God
Some believe that it is a sign of weakness to be kind to those who oppose us; however, scripture teaches us that just the opposite is true. Jesus said that loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us actually reveals that we are the true sons and daughters of God. The greatest example we have of this is Christ Himself. In a moment when He could have called for twelve legions of angels to defend Him, Jesus prayed instead, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
There is also another important reason for showing kindness to our enemies.
If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21-22)
One of our most powerful lines of defense in times of conflict is the demonstration of a ‘Christ-like spirit.’ There are several reasons why I say that it is a powerful defense. For one thing, it reveals that we really are a child of God. Secondly, it helps to bring conviction to those who are unjustly accusing us. Consider what Peter says about this important issue:
“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:8-16)
In reality there is only one way to get rid of an enemy and that is to make him our friend. Arguing with enemies will not change them. Arguing may only ingrain their bitterness. Instead, we should seek to draw strength through the grace of God and love them the way God loves us.