We’ve encountered them one too many times. There are days when you just wish you’d completely not cross paths with them but for some reason, they always find a way to get to us. Adversaries are part of life’s experiences. You won’t be able to cultivate or exhibit godly character if God does not allow enemies into our lives.
Some enemies are easy to dismiss—ignore them and they disappear. Some are stubborn and seem to draw their energy from the fact that they annoy you. If there’s anything I learned about the character of foes, the need for attention is usually common. There must be something you have that they don’t, which for them is enough reason to hate you. When we think of our enemies, we also have to consider if there is something in us that really is offending or annoying. For someone to behave negatively towards us, there has to be a reason.
This brings to mind a person I have been having difficulty with since we first met. I don’t know if I said anything to him that made him detest me so much, but I have asked the Lord “Why does he always wear a frown whenever he sees me? Am I noisy when he is around? Does he find my personality too strong?” I asked God and later on got the opportunity to ask his wife.
I found out that I am not the only person he’s annoyed at. I didn’t want to delve deeper, but from what his wife told me, the guy sort of hates it when his wife has friends and she gets to spend time with them. That gave me an idea that he’s either seloso or controlling. Shall we go back to one of my previous statements?
“There must be something you have that they don’t, which for them is enough reason to hate you.”
As far as I know, I have never mistreated this guy. I have always shown him respect and have been nice to him. He’s the one who greets me with a scowl whenever I offer a warm smile. Back then, it used to bother me because this guy and I would cross paths OFTEN. It was a struggle for me because I knew I didn’t do anything to him yet he hated me with so much passion, I could feel the tension in the air.
I have learned to submit the situation to God and just asked Him to help me be more understanding. I’m thankful because “that enemy” was silent. He wasn’t the scandalous slanderer who would go out and destroy the person he hated. What do we do then, when we meet enemies who talk like there’s no tomorrow? How do we handle enemies who like making a grand scene to make you look bad?
The very thought of them makes you angry. In your mind’s eye, you can almost see yourself hitting them back when they attack you. It’s very tempting, but what if we look at it as an avenue to practice self-control?
I was once embarrassed in front of a lot of people, when a woman accused me of being lewd. I understand REBUKING, but to make a scene and accuse without rightful evidence did not sit very well with me. I was with my discipler then when it happened. My discipler knew that I was about to break my cool when the woman began her scene. She stood by my side and spoke to me through eye contact. I didn’t react to the woman’s accusations. I simply kept quiet and we left her alone after she finished her scene. When my discipler and I were finally alone, I ranted. “Grabe! Nakakainis siya!” My discipler assured me that I did the right thing of not retaliating or saying anything. I admittedly kept a grudge against that woman months after that incident took place. I still saw her regularly but I didn’t find it in my heart to greet her. How plastic would that be, if I’d say hi to her when deep inside I was hurt and angry.
God had other things in mind. I got involved in a ministry of which she was a part of. I cringed. I did not know how to act around her. She saw me a couple of times, would hug me and act as if NOTHING HAPPENED! In my mind I was like “What the hell is wrong with this woman?!!!” I didn’t know if she was putting on an act, but it was so not normal to me.
HOW GOD FIXED THE RELATIONSHIP
In one of the Bible studies I attended, the topic was “Apologizing and Forgiveness”. Well, well, well… what do you know? She was there! I just sat beside my friends while she continued to chat with her own group. The speaker began the message with verses and examples. To my surprise, the woman raised her hand and admitted that she had some apologizing to do. She volunteered and apologized to me in front of many people, I WAS SO EMBARRASED! I didn’t know what to feel. She admitted that she was wrong and her manner of apprehending me was wrong.
I thought about what happened and realized that God’s hand really was behind the reconciliation and forgiveness. When I attended the Bible study, I didn’t have an idea of what the speaker would be talking about and if that woman would be there. How in the world did everything fall into place?
It was not easy to forgive her in public; I was overwhelmed. I did acknowledge her saying sorry, but it took awhile for me to fully say that “I am over it.” God helped me forgive her and understand where she’s coming from.
WHAT TO DO WHEN ENEMIES ATTACK YOU?
In my experience, going head to head with enemies is not going to fix the situation. On television, you have all these soap operas that seem to encourage a head to head between the protagonist and the antagonist. They get into a heated exchange of words and don’t back down. It’s always a contest—who can say a better line, who can hit better, etc.
In real life, we don’t always have a witty comeback to our enemies’ verbal assaults. Believe me, you don’t always need to answer when they attack. Here are a few quotes that prove that:
Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute – Josh Billings
The most profound statements are often said in silence. – Lynn Johnston
The next time you are tempted to defend yourself verbally, think about it. Remember what they say in court “Anything you say can be used against you” ? Silence an enemy with silence; he digs his own grave as long as he makes all the noise.
Lord, I know that it is a sin to have grudges against people. I ask you to forgive me from the hatred I feel against my enemies. Please instill in me a peaceful spirit and work in my heart. Help me Lord to forgive as you have forgiven me. I cannot do this in my own strength but with help from You.
May you work in this situation and may this result in forgiveness and understanding. Thank you for your kindess and mercy Lord. In Jesus Name I pray, AMEN.