Sunday, January 29, 2012

Loving Your Enemies...and the Enemies of Your Friends

Quite awhile ago, I talked about the possibility of religious-themed posts on Sundays as a regular feature. I always meant to follow through with it, but I never did - I never felt like I had anything worth sharing. Now, I do, and so I'm going to revive the idea and try my best to post something like this every week. I'm not trying to push Christianity on anyone, but I definitely feel like it's a way I can use this blog to serve God.

So, onto the topic of this specific post. In the past week, I had an experience that I feel like God was using to teach me something. We were playing volleyball in gym class, and one girl was saying some really mean things about another girl, who's not very athletic and wasn't participating much. She was making fun of her for not hitting the ball, to which the girl's response was, "If I try, it won't do any good, and you'll still yell at me."

I felt horrible about the whole situation. I wanted to say something, but I was too afraid - the girl who was making the mean comments has a reputation for being nasty, and I didn't want trouble with her. Looking back, I wish I had spoken up.

That night when I got home, I prayed for the girl who had been made fun of. I didn't even have to think about it; it was obviously the right thing to do. I prayed for myself, that the next time I was in a situation like that, I would have the courage to speak up. But then I realized that there was someone else I needed to be praying for - the girl who had been making the nasty comments. Based on the way she'd been acting that day and how she'd acted in my other encounters with her, she obviously needed it.

This was kind of a startling thought to me. Matthew 5:44 says, "But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Praying for the people who attack you and your faith is rarely easy, but to me, it's always been manageable. But what about praying for people who attack your friends - or, in my case, people who you don't even know very well? The Bible tells us that we should stand up for the weak; in Proverbs 31:8 it says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute."

But when we're defending someone, it's easy to hate the person attacking them, when in reality, the attacker needs God's love just as much as the one they're attacking. I've been told many times that I'm an empathetic person and I think that's true, so praying for someone else's enemy is almost harder than praying for my own enemy. God still loves them, though, and He tells us to love them too.

I hope that you were able to get something out of this entry, and I encourage you to strive to love the enemies of your friends as well as your own enemies. My eyes have certainly been opened by this experience, and I'll try my best to do the same.


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