Enemies exist in our world despite our efforts to eradicate them. While enemies can be accumulated in spite of our efforts, they can also be created by our bad attitude or actions. If the latter is true, we may very well need to develop new social skills.
Life is too short to make enemies because of our weaknesses. There was a woman who had been mean to most everyone during her life. Accordingly, most abandoned her. So, as she sat in her house in her late eighties, no one came to visit and the phone sat mute. When she died, less than five people came to her funeral. It cannot be the case that her rudeness throughout her life was worth being so alone in her final days. Our lives are but a “vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). To waste these years for immaturity is ridiculous.
Enemies create strife and stress. Handling them properly does not come naturally. In fact, dealing with enemies the way God desires is completely unnatural and requires great conscious effort (Matthew 5:44).
As a Christian, enemies will always exist. We are part of a larger war between God and Satan (Ephesians 6:10-20). Those who fight on Satan’s side will always be opposed to God’s servants (John 15:18,19). In fact, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12, NKJV). Therefore, a faithful Christian life will naturally yield enemies.
While we all desire to be liked and loved, we must consider the greater cause of Christ. To proclaim God’s Word truthfully, forcibly, and lovingly will yield anger, hatred, and sometimes violence (Ephesians 4:15; Galatians 4:16). God knew this, yet still told us to “preach the word” when it was popular and unpopular (2 Timothy 4:1,2). He still told us to spread the gospel to all men, knowing that most will reject the gospel call (Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 7:13,14).
A Christian has to be brave enough to withstand the anger of men when the truth is proclaimed. God told Jeremiah, “Do not be afraid of their faces, [f]or I am able to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:8). A powerful faith in God will not see us wilt before opposition. We will realize that our love for God supersedes all the powers of men.
Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). His message is simple, yet profound. We will not be able to live peacefully with all men. Notice, Paul says that we should live peaceably with all men “if it is possible” and “as much as depends on” us. In other words, we will encounter people that we simply cannot be at peace with. No matter what we do or what efforts we expend. This is a fact of human nature and should alleviate some guilt over damaged relationships.
Enemies are a serious problem that may cause us sleepless nights and social embarrassment. But, the praise of God and our soul’s salvation matter far more than the feelings of men. Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you. For so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). When we compromise truth, men may be pleased, but the face of God grows hot with anger. Will Satan (and those who follow him) be our enemy or will God be our enemy? We must choose which side we will be on.
Will we fear God or men?