Monday, May 4, 2009

Loving your enemies...

I've decided to make a conscious effort to really love my "enemies". This is no easy task for me. I love people, but I also trust few, and once someone has broken that trust it's VERY hard for me to be around them, talk to them, and ESPECIALLY to love them. I hate conflict, so usually I'd rather stay away from it, then to be in a relationship where it will come up often.

I know that I don't have to have a relationship with those people. For me though, I feel like I have to be ok with them, and to me being ok means being friendly. I try, and I fail often, but I really am trying to make things right, even if I wasn't the cause of the break down. I notice that when I try to reconcile, it makes me feel better about that person.

Sunday morning, I woke up early. I'd neglected to spend any real time with God the week before, and so, as I laid in bed, I asked God to show me something I needed to see. I've felt burdened with some relationship stuff, and I felt like that's what I needed to study. The day before, I stayed the night with my friend Sarah, and her husband Aaron. Aaron is a youth pastor, and was talking about translations of the bible while I was over. So I decided to gather my 5 different versions, and read Matthew 5:44-45 in all of them.

Most of them said the same thing, but then I got to "The Message"

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that."

I knew right away that I was letting these relationships bring out the worst in me. The frustration, the bitterness, the desire to roll my eyes every time I heard them talk. I felt convicted, and my heart hurt.
I was in church alone that morning, and one of the people that I have had a not-so-good relationship with was there. So I started praying for him. I continued to pray for him during Communion, and that God would provide a since of reconciliation between us. It was tough, and I could even feel the hurt creep back up as I asked God to help me forgive him. I still feel uncomfortable about everything. it reminds me of when I had surgery on my knee, and even after I healed up, there was an uncomfortable tightness from the scar. Even though everything is over and done, it still doesn't feel good.

I really feel like I'm suppose to take it a step further and do something to serve them. I've always had the desire to serve those that I love, so I guess if I'm going to love my enemies, then that's what it will take. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do yet. I just know in my heart it's what I have to do. I think it will be worth it to finally be able to forgive, and move on!

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