I’m continually and vigilantly working with God, on the woman in the mirror. I have severe anxiety. I have a hard time maintaining a focus long enough to complete a task. I have anger issues. I have family matters. I have a past I never dealt with. I have depression that tries to rule over my life. I have generational curses that try to impede any covering I speak over my son. I have the irrational fight with abandonment daily. However at the center of all this personal turmoil I have my God-my rock, my shield-my deliverer.
The majority of the issues I listed are issues that are resolved by handing them over to God-me trusting Him-and for the most part they don’t involve me overextending myself. When dealing with such intimate, personal issues that don’t involve other people, I know I need to be in the word of God, and submit to being still under his lordship. When you’ve decided to walk with God 100%-this process become more and more familiar.
I never thought of myself as someone with many enemies. I think with the things I’ve gone through-I’ve learned to forgive anyone who wrongs me or hurts. However, thinking this over, I would say we all feel this way until that one person makes history with us. Until that one person keeps knocking you down-no matter your efforts-despite your efforts to make peace with this person-the constant negative experiences and setbacks with them only categorizes them as an enemy.
For me, I met this person 5 years ago. During this time in my life-I would never consider this person an enemy-but hey 5 years later, and this is the title they’ve taken up. It is not so much that I dislike the person-but they heavily dislike me. This person-or my enemy-they are constantly sabotaging my situation. It literally aches and irritates their misery if they see me happy or getting ahead in any capacity. Any opportunity this person gets to get at me or call me names or belittle me-they take complete advantage of it. This person goes as far as mocking my relationship with God. This person is the father of my son.
I got to a point with him to where I literally didn’t know what to do. I know what a lot of you are thinking-“cut them out”-which would be great but I had two reasons not to. First reason is this person and I share a huge responsibility that requires us to talk and exchange experiences. And two-I was working a lot on myself therefore to cut them out and not deal with the issue within the Jesus-way lifestyle-I knew that wasn’t what God would want and I knew eventually I would have to deal with it.
The easy thing to do here is keep my son from his dad and cut him out of the picture altogether until he “got the picture”. Trust me-this would have been the easier thing-but it is not the right thing. Especially since his dad was making my life more difficult by the belittling and lack of any sort of support. Ignoring him could be easy too. Being sarcastic and completely avoiding him-all these things are considerably easier than dealing with the back talk of someone who seemingly has it out for my demise. However, my lifestyle calls for me to deal with enemies in a different way-by looking at how Jesus handled his enemies-not by the easiest, least bothersome method possible.
Jesus had so many enemies. Jesus didn’t dislike those who didn’t like him. Jesus had a very specific message that he lived by no matter who you were and what you did to him: he was going to love you. In fact scripture says “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them” (Luke 6). Sometimes I reread that not because I don’t understand, but because it is so clear and leaves me some what dumbfounded that God calls me to do such nice things for difficult people in my life. So God doesn’t instruct us to ignore our enemies, to avoid them or cut them out but God calls forth very different (and difficult) actions. He calls me to love my son’s father. He calls us to actively love our enemies. He tells us to actually do good unto them. He tells us to not curse them back when they are spewing negativity, but to actually bless them with our words-to speak life.
Wait…did I translate that correctly? So like God, when my son’s father is calling me useless and “damaged goods” and calls my relationship with You a “church movement”-I’m supposed to welcome the insults with open arms? Yeap. That is what he is calling me to do. In fact when he is insulting me I am called to pray for him. As Jesus hung on the cross, he was mocked and ridiculed, he was beaten, but Jesus was perfectly human, just like us when he responded not with the same fury as his enemies, but instead “father forgive them, for they not know what they do” (Luke 23). Jesus prayed for those people who put him on that cross.
As difficult and unnatural as it may feel we are not called to fight fire with fire. We are not called to cut difficult people out of our lives. Instead we are supposed to be that light that shines brightly in the darkness and never because we feel like it, but because of our reverence and relationship with God.
I’ve been meditating on this for a couple of weeks now, and the one thing I realized is that some issues we try and resolve with God require us to step outside of our comfort zone and simply act. Responding to our enemies is one of these issues. Other issues I mentioned earlier require us to be steady in God and nothing else. Point is, acting doesn’t always require feeling. I don’t have to “feel” nice to be nice to my son’s father. I don’t have to “feel” like praying for him to pray for him-no I am called to do it out of obedience not a feeling. Scripture makes this clear and known to the one who is seeking a Christ-centered life meaning it is not wisdom we have to seek-it is spelled out for us. I have to remind myself constantly, I may not feel like loving. I may not feel like speaking life-and in no way is this a requirement God has of us-to only act if we feel. But I do know my God and I know if I do and act as he asks of me, he will do the rest.
Do everything in love.
-1 Corinthians 16:14