No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:20-21)
If we want to keep our enemies, we shouldn’t follow Paul’s advice. If we like having enemies, don’t ever pray for them. If we pray for them, we might see that they’re just as lost and broken as we are.
But if we want to have fewer enemies, if we want to follow Jesus, Paul has something to say to us. If we feed our enemy, he may become our brother. If we give our enemy a drink, she may become our sister.
The more enemies we have the more our life becomes an endless series of battles. I’m not so naïve as to think we can make peace with all people. Some people are dangerous. Some may intend to harm us.
But most of us have many more enemies than we should. And many of our enemies aren’t actually our enemies at all. They are just people who we have hurt or people who have hurt us, and we simply didn’t have the wherewithal to say sorry, please forgive me, let’s not give up on each other.
Jesus came to this world for reconciliation between God and us. If we accept His gift of reconciliation, we must accept His command to be reconcilers. If our lives are filled with enemies, we aren’t following His command. There’s no spiritual integrity in accepting the reconciliation Jesus offers to us, while withholding reconciliation from others.
Again, if we want to keep our enemies, we shouldn’t follow Paul’s advice. But if we want more peace and less strife in our life, I encourage us to start living into the wisdom that Paul gives.
- Have you ever prayed for an enemy? If you want to keep your enemies, don’t pray for them. If you want fewer enemies, start praying. What are you going to do?
- The people who hurt us are often hurting. Does it help you to forgive them when you remember that they are just as lost and broken as you are?
- For some people, their biggest enemy is themselves. If that’s true for you, what do you need to do to be reconciled to yourself and to make peace with your life?