[forthright] Why Do We Have Enemies?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:29:19 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

Why Do We Have Enemies?
by Richard Mansel

Enemies exist in our world despite our efforts to
eradicate them. While enemies can be accumulated
in spite of our efforts, they can also be created
by our bad attitude or actions. If the latter is
true, we may very well need to develop new social
skills.

Life is too short to make enemies because of our
weaknesses. There was a woman who had been mean to
most everyone during her life. Accordingly, most
abandoned her. So, as she sat in her house in her
late eighties, no one came to visit and the phone
sat mute. When she died, less than five people
came to her funeral. It cannot be the case that
her rudeness throughout her life was worth being
so alone in her final days. Our lives are but a
"vapor that appears for a little time and then
vanishes away" (James 4:14). To waste these years
for immaturity is ridiculous.

Enemies create strife and stress. Handling them
properly does not come naturally. In fact, dealing
with enemies the way God desires is completely
unnatural and requires great conscious effort
(Matthew 5:44).

As a Christian, enemies will always exist. We are
part of a larger war between God and Satan
(Ephesians 6:10-20). Those who fight on Satan's
side will always be opposed to God's servants
(John 15:18,19). In fact, "all who desire to live
godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2
Timothy 3:12, NKJV). Therefore, a faithful
Christian life will naturally yield enemies.

While we all desire to be liked and loved, we must
consider the greater cause of Christ. To proclaim
God's Word truthfully, forcibly, and lovingly will
yield anger, hatred, and sometimes violence
(Ephesians 4:15; Galatians 4:16). God knew this,
yet still told us to "preach the word" when it was
popular and unpopular (2 Timothy 4:1,2). He still
told us to spread the gospel to all men, knowing
that most will reject the gospel call (Matthew
28:18-20; Matthew 7:13,14).

A Christian has to be brave enough to withstand
the anger of men when the truth is proclaimed. God
told Jeremiah, "Do not be afraid of their faces,
[f]or I am able to deliver you" (Jeremiah 1:8). A
powerful faith in God will not see us wilt before
opposition. We will realize that our love for God
supersedes all the powers of men.

Paul wrote, "If it is possible, as much as depends
on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans
12:18). His message is simple, yet profound. We
will not be able to live peacefully with all men.
Notice, Paul says that we should live peaceably
with all men "if it is possible" and "as much as
depends on" us. In other words, we will encounter
people that we simply cannot be at peace with. No
matter what we do or what efforts we expend. This
is a fact of human nature and should alleviate
some guilt over damaged relationships.

Enemies are a serious problem that may cause us
sleepless nights and social embarrassment. But,
the praise of God and our soul's salvation matter
far more than the feelings of men. Jesus said,
"Woe to you when all men speak well of you. For so
did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke
6:26). When we compromise truth, men may be
pleased, but the face of God grows hot with anger.
Will Satan (and those who follow him) be our enemy
or will God be our enemy? We must choose which
side we will be on.

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