But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… – Matthew 5:44 (ESV)
The most humbling thing about Matthew 5:44 is knowing that some people see me as their enemy. (Really. There are people who have serious beef with me.)
It might be because we don’t share the exact same beliefs.
It might be because we’ve had a misunderstanding.
It might be because we stood on opposite sides of an issue.
It might be because I’ve done something or said something that caused you pain. (Knowing how impulsive and tactless I can be, this is probably the one.)
Now, I’m not sitting here, rubbing my hands together and cackling or anything. For the most part, I curb my hot-headedness (though, I’m not always successful there) and do what I think is the right thing to do in a situation. Almost everyone does that. The problem is, we don’t all agree what the right thing to do is.
Instead of taking a step back and thinking, “Hey, maybe this other person is sincerely doing what they believe is right,” we jump to all sorts of conclusions about their “true” motives, toss a target on their back, and start firing. That’s what I tend to do, at least.
But, most people aren’t trying to do evil things. Most of us try to be good and principled people. I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone. But, somewhere along the line we all get caught up in something that will get us labelled as the “enemy” of someone else, whether we’ve actually done something wrong or not. (That’s not a cop out, by the way. I’ve definitely done some wrong things.)
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. – Galatians 5:15 (ESV)
I’m not your enemy. You aren’t my enemy. We do have a mutual enemy, though, and I wish we could see that instead of cannibalizing one other.
We sheep are so busy defending ourselves from one another that we totally ignore the wolf when he shows up.
So, pray for me—your enemy—and I’ll pray for you, and together we’ll strike a blow against our real enemy.