Tag Archives: #loveyourenemies

Love Your Enemies

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.

Mean, right?

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.

 

 

Do You Love Our Muslim Neighbors?

A friend posted a picture of himself holding a sign that said, “I  love my Muslim neighbors.” It surprised me, but I’m grateful for his bold witness because it inspired me to write this post. I usually avoid controversial topics, but Christians must take a stand and demonstrate love. God commands us to love our neighbors, and our enemies. (See Matthew 5:44-48).  If I didn’t love Muslims, would I travel to Niger, a country that is 99.9% Muslim, camp in primitive conditions, endure the Sarah sun, when I could be enjoying a beach vacation?

Some of the news stories that unsettle me the most involve politicians, their rants, their actions, and promises. I understand the desire to protect Americans, but the sad truth is, there is no safe place.  If I ask a bully to protect me, who will protect me from the bully?

I’m not naïve. I understand there are Muslims who would like to convert, enslave, or kill Christians. Just read, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali or In the Land of Blue Burqas by Kate McCord. The Muslims I’ve met in Niger, Africa are gentle, gracious, welcoming, and more concerned with feeding their family than anything else. Many citizens in Niger have not had the opportunity to learn to read, so they’ve not read the Qur’an or the Holy Bible. Do you consider all Americans, to Christians, because America is called a  “Christian” nation? People are in Niger are considered Muslim, because they live in a “Muslim” nation, yet many have never read the Qur’an and don’t receive religious training. They participate in some of the rituals, but how many people in America exchange Christmas gifts with little knowledge of the birth of Jesus.

Women in Niger spend their days gathering water, pounding millet, and caring for their children. They don’t seem to be concerned about world politics, or religious differences. When visiting compounds in Niger, women graciously remove a mat from their home and spread it in front of us. If they possess a chair, they offer the very best seat to us. We share our names and ask them their names. As we begin telling them the purpose of our visit, the group usually grows in number, as others become aware that Americans are visiting. They listen, with rapt attention, when we tell them about God’s plan for salvation. I’ll never know if the seeds planted will be harvested, but I pray for God to soften their hearts.

When I was in Niger, and passed people on the road, I felt heartbroken. Many will die never knowing there is a God who loves them so much that He sent His son to die for their sins, and well as for my sins.

I love Muslims, and if you’re a Christian, you should too. Not everyone will have the opportunity to travel to a third world country, to share the gospel. But we should all love our neighbors, and that includes Muslims (and politicians with whom we do not agree.) No one is perfect, especially me.

Burning a mosque will never bring someone to know Jesus. Removing a Muslim from a group setting will antagonize other Muslims. Asking Muslims to register will not protect us from the evil people who wants to harm us. That activity reminds me of Hitler requiring the Jewish peoples to register, and makes me shiver.

My experience of showing respect, grace, and love has opened the door to friendship, love and a heart open to receiving the Holy Spirit. I’m NOT perfect, and I struggle to love everyone, especially politicians who treat others disrespectfully. Thank goodness, I have a Savior who intercedes for me.

Let us all strive to love our neighbors, and our enemies.

But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (47) And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (45) You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’” Matthew 5:44-48

#africanmissions #missions #loveyourneighbor #loveyourenemies