In that way,
you will be acting as true children of your Father in Heaven.
For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good,
and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.
Matthew 5:45 NLT
A checklist to see if you have enemies: (Keep mental tally of all “yes” responses)
- I have someone actively trying to kill me right now.
- I get and send daily hate mail.
- There is a secret dart board in my closet with a picture of my enemy on it.
If you answered yes to two or more of those, you probably have at least one enemy. (I got ZERO so that checklist makes me feel really great about myself. #SuperChristianAward) But if we’re being really honest – and we can do that here because this isn’t the PRETTY worship blog – the enemy concept doesn’t actually work like that. In fact, our culture has sensationalized “enemy” so much that it’s pretty hard to relate to the term at all anymore.
We don’t have enemies.
We have Ugh-nemies (pronounced just like “enemies” except instead of the prefix “en,” begin the word with the sound you make when you smell dead fish). We have people in our life that make us think and say “Ugh.”
- Ugh. I just don’t want to talk to THAT person today. I’ll act like I didn’t see him/her.
- Ugh. He/she drives me CRAZY.
- Ugh. I can’t hang out with that person unless there’s wine involved.
Jesus talked about how to deal with ugh-nemies and enemies. And, more importantly, he talked about why we might want to deal differently.
“You have heard the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.” (Matthew 5:43-46 NTL)
If we are true children of God, our action apples shouldn’t fall too far from the tree. God gives sunlight and rain to evil, good, unjust and just. He doesn’t play favorites. Jesus didn’t choose the easy way out – he befriended the outcasts, the terminally cranky, the snobby-snobbertons AND the never-to-be-caught-up-with-Jones’s.
Jesus never said “Ugh.” Even those that hated, persecuted and killed him were treated with love, healing, patience and peace.
Challenge: This week, any time my gut says “ugh” about a person, interaction or place, I will pause and ask God to change my response instead to HUG. (It’s cheesy, I know… but it rhymes and we won’t forget it!!!)
Dear Lord, in so many ways I act like YOUR ugh-nemy. But you never stop blessing me, answering my prayers, and reminding me that I’m forgiven and loved. Please help me treat all those in my life with that same measure of grace. Get rid of my urge to Ugh and replace it with an authentic appreciation and love. Amen.