Monday, February 16, 2009

Enemy Love

In my last post I introduced you to a mother I know. She is my enemy.

Dictionary.com’s first definition of an enemy is “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.” This woman has worked hard to meet the requirements of the definition. Eight years ago, after a bitter four year battle, her oldest child was placed in my home. And so, for good or for bad, there has been much fuel provided to feed the fires of hatred. It still burns hot and bright. And God knows that I struggle to not be her enemy back.

Why? Because Matthew 5:44 says I have to love her.

I have a confession to make. I sometimes can’t even manage to “love” the people I love. How am I supposed to love someone I loathe? By the actions of love, that’s how. Because love is a verb. It is an exercise and a sacrifice. It is something I can do.

I can give her the gift of helping her child to love her by being very careful what I say about her to or in front of the child. I can send her anonymous gifts to lift her spirits or meet a financial need. I can be kind to her when I come into contact with her. I can send small things I know she will like when the child goes to visit. I can invite her and her other children to birthday parties.

I can do all that but what I should do is pray for her. And that is a hard one. “...pray for those who persecute you.” That is the second half of the Mat 5:44 command. That is what God is asking me to do for her.

I would much rather spend my prayer time praying for the people I love, or the babies in the NICU, or the stranger who delivered my pizza last night. And so the truth is that until I get over this, I am her enemy too.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The act of praying which can be done as easily and quickly as breathing in and out,you say is more difficult than the physical act of gift wrapping, writing checks, holding one's tongue, and cutting cake for a party. These latter things all take some effort [some more than others] but the prayer takes only thought. Is thought also your enemy? Perhaps you could pray for her as if she were a stranger and not "think" about her. anon

Billy Coffey said...

You are absolutely right. Prayer is key. And also, in my experience, the hardest thing to do for someone you don't really like. But it does work. You cannot continually pray for someone and hate them. God won't let you.

Keep going, and prayers for you.

Hope42Day said...

The old adage, Time does heal wounds is right. Give it time. Keep praying. Let God. Let go.

Anonysister said...

I'm thinking this is all so complicated. When people hurt us in real ways, deep ways, it is natural to feel anger, even rage. I'm not sure that's a bad thing unless we turn it back on them destructively. Anger, after all, says, "Something is wrong."

No answers for you, then. Just an ache that understands.

Monica said...

I'm so glad you found my blog, which brought me to yours.........I'm loving your writing, writing is not one of my gifts...... I love when people's blogs make me think, and yours does!! I will be coming back. And your little girl is beautiful!!!!

Anonymous said...

I know this person that you speak of and I have to tell you that I have prayed for her and her abusive boyfriend. I have to diagree with Billy Coffeys' statement that God won't let you continually pray for someone and still hate them. I have disliked/hated them for years of abuse towards people I love. I will continue to pray for them and I guess I will have to pray for myself also.

Christi said...

wow, does this hit close to home. I'm dealing with the same feelings towards the bio mother of the children placed in my care. Wish I had the words to blog about it as well as you have.

will pray for you, and mother too.

rickismom said...

I raised two step daughters , and had (and have) my own arguments with her. I felt that my biggest job was to see that my animosity not surface, that my step daughters could feel good about themselves, that their mom is "OK". To do that, is, I think, a major accomplishment.
The person who does for someone else, puts part of hiself (his time) into the other person, and it can certainly decrease animosity.

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