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.
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