Loving Enemies

There is someone who I hate. Who I have been trying not to hate, swinging back and forth for the last year maybe, from hate to conviction, to hate, to fatigue, to hate, to numb, to rage, to grief. It is astonishing how much emotion has been spent on this person, who I would prefer never to see again.

For many months, I have been praying that this person will leave my life. At the beginning of the month I prayed that this person would be gone by the end of the month, and it intrigued me, because I wondered why God would lead me to pray with a specific time frame for no reason that I could see.

And then last week this person barged into a special event, and I was SO MAD. And I was dreading getting stuck next to them and having to overhear their lame small talk or even worse make lame small talk, and I thought if that happened I would probably just puke in their lap. So I let God know I’d do my best not to be a huge jerk but that He should also note my fragile state and give me some outs.

And then God nudged me: “What if you reached out and tried to love this guy instead of just avoiding him?”

To which I replied, “Um, Lord, I can’t. I am already using up everything I have to not hate him. Thought you knew that.”

And God interrupted my sarcasm to say, “Isn’t the easiest way not to hate someone to love them?”

Which had me stumped.

Fortunately I found an empty seat at the table that was not only across from Matt but also far enough down from he-who-shall-not-be-named that I could mostly pretend he wasn’t there.

Because the moral of this story is not that I loved my enemy and it turned out okay. I can’t make myself love this person any more than I can gain 20 pounds.

The moral of the story is that God hinted to me that his plan might not be to get this person out of my life but to change my heart.

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