God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart. —2 Chronicles 32:31
When Jesus said, "Love your enemies," He assumed that we would have one or more, and most people do. Sadly, many, if not most of them, will be from within the community of faith. Certainly Jesus assumed this, and nothing has really changed. Much persecution comes from those who claim to believe in God as much as you do. And yet the issues between you may not be theological. You enemy may simply not like you!
The origin of such enmity may be explained almost entirely in terms of the flesh. For example, your enemy may just not be able to cope with your being the way you are or with your being on a particular side of a certain question or issue. It is usually no fault of your own.
They could be angry with God for blessing you or for putting you where you are. You have that prestigious job. It pays well. You are admired by your boss and the people in your office. God has blessed you with certain talents and gifts. There will always be someone who will be jealous and seek to bring you down. If you have been blessed with a good reputation, do not be surprised if someone resents it. Unfortunately, your enemy doesn't know that he or she is probably actually angry with God.
The ultimate reason you and I have an enemy is that it fits God's purpose. Why? It is what we need. It helps to humble us lest we take ourselves too seriously. An enemy shows us what we are like.
So don't be angry with your enemy! It is God who is at work on your heart!
Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).
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