Dealing With Enemies

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from Lightbearers

But I say to you, love your enemies… Matt 5:44 NKJV

Love your enemies. It was the most radical concept ever introduced to human thought!

The way of man since Adam’s sons has been to kill your rival, your opponent, your enemy. But now a new glory gave hope to all mankind! Perhaps the greatest line in the sand between born again ones and others is in how we treat our enemies, and secondly, how we treat those who can do nothing for us. This is one thing that separates ministry from business. In business I just didn’t have time for people who weren’t customers. They had little if no value to me unless I could turn them into customers.  But in our Christian walk, regardless of how they may benefit us, ALL people have great value, all people are our ‘customers.’

…and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ Matt 10:36 NKJV

You have enemies, and enemies cause pain, and sometimes even things far greater than pain. They do it deliberately out of hate or jealousy or even revenge. Sometimes it is related to something totally disconnected to you like a quarrel over the use of an armrest on a plane. Or it could be a jealousy that has arisen over a family outrage that occurred years before, and you find yourself in the middle of it. The genocide by Hutus of the Tutsis in central Africa had one hundred years of outrage behind it, same as the Germans and Jews, and Turks and Armenians, and one hundred other genocides in history. How do you handle that in a way that glorifies Christ and blesses everyone, even your enemy?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons (Grk. HUIOS) of God. Matt 5:9 NKJV

The solution you choose marks your maturity level in Christ – a HUIOS, a ‘son’ level believer is a peacemaker – as well as the perception the world has of you and the Church, i.e. your witness.

Taekwondo is a defensive minded martial arts system which is why it is primarily taught in US schools. In earning my black belt through seven years of training, we never learned to kill people, like with fists to the throat, but how to keep them from killing us, by parrying our enemy’s attacks and rendering them unable to continue their attack. It’s a physical representation of gospel principles – block and counter, overcoming evil with good, and showing mercy, leaving everything to the judgment of the King.

Mercy always comes out of a position of strength. Mercy is a refraining from harming or punishing offenders, enemies, etc. You have the strength, the power even the justification to punish but you release them. Now, we are not talking about criminals and prisons or execution; that is a whole different situation where legitimate judgment has been rendered. Elisha released the Syrian raiders who came to take him after he fed them and gave them provision. That was mercy out of great strength, great authority and it produced what some scholars think was an eighty-year period of peace between Syria and Israel. Nobody messed with Elisha! (2Ki 6:16-23)

As you grow up you develop wisdom, but if your wisdom isn’t salted with grace you will become cynical. I must watch this all the time about myself. People will continually prove either your good evaluation of them or your bad, depending on the lens through which you view them. As we extend mercy we will receive mercy so our view and attitude towards others must be drawn from Christ in us, not our memories or even our perceptions. Are you with me?

We can deal with our enemies without fear.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Luke 10:19 NKJV

His enemies tried to kill Him at least a dozen times, but Jesus was never touched until He as the High Priest offered Himself as the Passover Lamb. A friend of mine, a Vietnam war combat vet, told me a story of a man who came into his church and threatened to shoot him with the gun he had in his hand. My friend said, “You can only shoot me if my Father permits it, and He will not permit it today!” My friend stood his ground without fear and asserted his authority in Christ. His stand stopped that crazy man!

How do we get our hearts right to demonstrate Christ to our enemies?

Truly loving our enemies is not a sign of weakness but of great strength of soul and character. Love is proactive meaning we seek ways to love our enemies before we are confronted by them. One brother I know after being assigned to a church in a dangerous neighborhood went door to door to pray with every household in that area regardless of who they were. He never had a problem with his local people. He loved his enemies before they could pour their hate on him.

In preparing your heart to deal with your enemies, never allow yourself to see yourself as a victim. A victim mentality is the way of Cain. You are more than a conqueror, seated at God’s right hand, having eternal life, made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, a representative of the true and only King. You have nothing to complain about, no victim status. That defilement of ‘poor little me’ has been washed from your soul! We love our enemies from a position of strength…

What about longstanding animosity?

First, realize you are dealing with a demon. The innate, God given ‘default setting’ in all people is to get along, to live in peace. Men naturally joke with one another, they forget differences. Women innately are cooperative team builders, they work together. But when ‘cat fights’ occur, when jealousy and rage fill men, then you are dealing with demons. Demons require a different set of principles.

We don’t have space here for a thorough discussion of dealing with demons but we can talk about preparing your heart so you can separate in your discernment the demons’ activities from the persons activities. Jesus fought for the demoniac while fighting and crushing his demons. He held no resentment or bitterness in any space regarding any of His enemies, even calling for the Father’s mercy on them from the cross. Am I speaking to you?

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Rom 13:8 NKJV

Forgive your enemy. To forgive means to release them from the debt of love that they owe you. When they should have loved you, they didn’t. So, you can tell them to their face, ‘You hurt me when you did ‘such and such,’ but I forgive you, I release you from your debt of love, and I love you.’ That last part is essential because there is no true forgiveness without reconciliation, ideally putting that person back in the position of esteem they had before the wrongdoing was done. Isn’t that what the Father does with us when He forgives us?

You can forgive your enemy even if they are not present, or even not alive. It can be painful, because you must confront again what they did to you, and then render judgment over it by deciding to forgive it. One time as I was leading a deliverance service, I had to get a man to forgive the man who killed his brother. It was so painful for him to even say the words, so I had him repeat word for word after me his confession of forgiveness. Then he got freedom! Do you see?

When you truly forgive then your heart is free to actively love your enemy. Your heart is also free to get the specific revelation of how to effectively be a peacemaker, one who ends fights. Sometimes war is necessary because the evil is so huge and so consequential that it must be overcome by the most extreme means, if only for future generations. But if we proactively seek to identify first and then love our enemies, using the weapons of wisdom and revelation, we can overcome evil before it ever gets to the place of requiring physical war. Are you thinking of someone right now you need to love?

Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. Rom 12:21 NKJV

Love your enemies. Go have coffee with a democrat. Play pickleball with a ‘antifa punk.’ Our enemies might even join us! We don’t have to kill each other; we just have to parry their anger until we can get authority over the situation and introduce the Prince of peace. Then we will be good witnesses of our King, and this world we live in now will be a better place. Amen? Love you!

Remember dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…