I want us to think about a really hard topic today, loving our enemies.
No fun right? But it’s not only commanded throughout the Bible… We once again had Jesus show us the way. And, it is still so hard. So let’s start by thinking about what an enemy looks like to our daily life, and how we can find a way to love and to be loving regardless.
As I coach individuals it isn’t uncommon that they share with me how their dear family members or friends are treating them in an unloving way. This is the hardest, in my opinion, I believe because we have an expectation that a friend or family member will treat us kind and lovingly.
Let’s face it, while we are children of God, we also wear layers of flesh, a recipe for acts of sin, and often, our friends and family end up in the crossfire. It could be sabotage, abuse, envy, rage, and so much more. It happens every day and we need to know how to handle it.
So how did Jesus handle it? Think about the last supper and him knowing that one of the very persons he loved was going to be betraying him. What did he do? He served them.
There is something else I want to point out. He called them on it and served regardless. I like this example. He didn’t call them out with venom, passive aggressiveness or judgment. It was a statement… An awareness.
Something else Jesus did that we can learn from is that he leaned on God for counsel on this. Once he was able to wrap his whole self around the truth of the betrayal he made it known that the offense was real and he responded in love, regardless.
Have you ever been given this amount of grace, maybe as a child? Where you did something really quite horrible but you were met with love and grace? Where you almost wish your parents had just yelled and deeply punished you, but instead they extended grace?
To help us respond to acts of sin toward us I believe we need to first know and understand rules with clarity. Expectations of behaviors need to be clear. There is little room for all the back and forth fighting and manipulating, in a heated area if the offense, when the act is without doubt, wrong. Then the individual who has wronged knows of their guilt before you even think to extend grace.
In order to extend grace in a deep level of growth, clarity, and effectiveness I feel we need to first recognize and state understanding of the act without sinning ourselves.
Think of Jesus telling the disciples at the last supper that one of them would betray him. Was there a big fight over the betrayal, was their stonewalling and exclusion? Jesus invited those he loved to sit at the table with him, he stated the truth, and then he proceeded to show unconditional love by serving.
- KNOW THE EXPECTATION: Families, individuals, work environments that make known the rules have far less grief in these situations. Those involved quickly know right from wrong. The fight that often grows from proving a point or demanding the others understanding of their place, is eliminated by the clarity of what is right and what is wrong. Our job as leaders in our homes and outside is to make known these rules and to do what we can to live by them.
- STATE THE INFRACTION: No stonewalling, no drama, and no participating in further sin by offering judgment. A simple statement of the infraction so all are aware.
- SERVE IN GRACE: Then, proceed in loving and loving acts. Call on God for help. And if needed think back to how Jesus did this to the very individual that would soon betray him in the most inconceivable way.
I do not know the situations of those reading this post today, but I write for the mom whose child betrays them, a boss or coworker in the midst of sabotage, possibly a spouse who is being treated horribly and yet all want to find a way to love graciously without responding in returned sin and magnified oppression over the unlovable acts of those we are to love.
Faith Infused Living… Reaching Goals Higher!
Niccie Kliegl CLC, RN