Recovery: It's a God Thing
Wednesday August 23, 2017
by Teresa McBean
Scripture Reading for today: Jeremiah 48; 2 Samuel 9 and 10
Even I can sometimes muster up the maturity to love those that love me well. I’m blessed with people in my life that are great at loving me. Sometimes I can imitate this awesome loving myself. But I find it extremely difficult to love my enemies. Jesus set an extremely challenging example when he taught us to not only love those who love us, but love those who are our enemies as well. He taught this; he lived it too. This kind of high-class living shouldn’t have come as a surprise to us. As far back as the Old Testament, God was giving us a foretaste of the kind of awesome lovers he was going to equip us to become. In 2 Samuel 9, David discovered Mephibosheth, a relative of Saul. David extends him love. By any standards this was risky behavior–potentially loving an enemy. But David does it anyway.
For further instruction on loving our enemies see: 1 Peter 3:8-9, Romans 12:14-21, and Matthew 5:38-48
I’m glad that we have scripture to teach us that it is God who makes us both willing and able to do His good, pleasing, and perfect will. I don’t think I could love my enemies without God’s power. Failure to do so, however, is harming behavior. I can’t stop with this statement. I must add that loving your enemies is not the equivalent of letting them walk all over you. Once I had a friend whose husband slapped her around on a regular basis. I suggested that this man was more of an enemy than a friend. She agreed and said that’s why she stayed with him. This statement required serious pausing to prepare on my part.
Finally, I was able to calm my heart and say this, “You know, I do not think God is telling us that to love our enemies is the equivalent of saying one should tolerate abuse from a husband. Wouldn’t it be a far more loving thing to hold your spouse accountable for his misdeeds, believing that he can change, but for sure not become a stumbling block by allowing him to continue to sin against you?” Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for another person is to honestly name a problem and lovingly hold them accountable for their wrongs against us. Simply tolerating abuse can never be a loving act. So please, be careful how you interpret this devotional. Don’t allow its principles to be mis-applied. I think it is possible to lovingly, respectfully address behaviors that lead us to believe someone is our enemy without causing harm ourselves. It may take a small army of resource people to help us sort this all out, but it’s an effort God endorses.