By Krista Phillips
A long time ago, there was this girl.
We’ll call her—Minnie Mouse.
That’s not really her name of course. I’m disguising it to protect the innocent—er—guilty—er—whatever. I’m keeping her identity hidden because she would probably hate everything about this post, okay? AND because calling her Minnie Mouse is gonna make me giggle every time I type it in place of the REAL person’s name, and this story (which will be kept vague in places so no one will recognize it) needs to make me giggle. It really does.
So, Minnie Mouse is—well—my enemy.
She doesn’t really KNOW she’s my enemy. At least I don’t think so.
But Minnie gets on my ever-loving last nerve and if I never had to talk to her again a day in my life, I’d honestly would be super duper happy. That is the honest, sad truth of the matter.
Don’t tell me that a picture of that person in your own life didn’t just filter through your brain. I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with this.
Minnie Mouse didn’t start off as my enemy. She actually seemed kinda nice in a quirky, a little over-opinionated kind of way.
But the more I got to know Minnie, the harder it was to be her friend, even in a casual way.
We’re supposed to love our neighbor, right?
Right. But have you ever thought about that? Loving your “neighbor” isn’t that hard most of the time. Bake some cookies, give money to the poor, volunteer, etc. It’s a sacrifice of time and resources and money, but totally doable. Honestly, the “world” as we in the Christian-realm like to call it, can do a pretty decent job of loving their neighbor as well. Christians need to do a better job, in fact.
But Jesus—he kicked that bar up a mile or so when he added enemy to the mix.
We’re supposed to—love our enemies?
I’m not gonna lie. That’s a toughie.
Back to Minnie Mouse. She quickly jumped from the “neighbor” train to the “enemy” train after a few rounds of backstabbing, lying, manipulating, and one fun encounter of yelling at me, all while doing so in the name of God.
In my heart, I knew her actions came from some deep part in her that was hurt. She apologized a few different times—but her apologies always came with a “but this is why I did what I did and why it wasn’t REALLY that bad…”
Through it all, I felt God calling me to love her. Pray for her. Intercede on her behalf.
At some point, he also called me to put up some very healthy boundaries, which I did, but the experience taught me something that, before then, hadn’t really hit me.
Loving your enemies doesn’t make them no longer your enemy.
For a long time, I was overwhelmed with the idea of loving my enemy because I looked at some of the people in the world who would easily fall into that category and couldn’t understand it. The abusive husband? The drunk driver who killed someone? The cheating spouse? The racist? The bully?
How could God ask anyone to be friends with these people?
The answer is:
He doesn’t. At least not every time. (Personally, I’ve had a few bullies who turned into friends, but that is another story.)
He knows they’re your enemies. He isn’t asking you to change that, because it isn’t in your power to do so. He’s asking us to love them, pray for them, where they are at. Period. And he isn’t asking us to do anything he hasn’t already done himself. He loved those people enough to send his son to die for them, too.
I’m here to tell you, the exercise of loving Minnie Mouse did much more for MY heart than it ever did for hers. To my knowledge, she hasn’t changed much, although I still pray for her when God puts it on my heart, hoping she will change. But it made me start to look at my enemies differently, and that, my friends, is a very good thing.
About Krista Phillips
Krista Phillips writes contemporary romance sprinkled with two of her favorite things, laughter and Jesus. And sometimes chocolate for kicks and giggles. She lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband and their four beautiful daughters, and is an advocate for congenital heart defect and organ donation awareness. Visit her online at www.kristaphillips.com.
To order her new book, A (sorta) Southern Serenade, click on the cover.
A romantic comedy novella! She’s a Yankee transplant. He’s a good ol’ Southern boy. She’s a rich heiress of a multi-million dollar family fortune. He’s gotten everything he has through old fashioned hard work. She thinks he’s arrogant. He thinks she’s uppity. She’s trying to find her place in this world. He’s trying to run from his. It’s (sorta) a match made in Heaven.
Shelia will draw a name from her subscribers on Saturday, January 14, 2017, and some lucky person will win a free copy. Scroll to the top of the page to subscribe.