|Photo by Creative Common Image|
I am a recovering people pleaser, so my list of enemies has been relatively short. Even with all my efforts to be everyone’s favorite, there have been a few people I couldn’t please.
The words of Mary DeMuth lanced my recently wounded and inflamed heart. In Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You, Mary reminds us how Jesus dealt with His foes:
“He offered grace to those who violated His laws. He dignified outcasts. He engaged Himself in the very world that put Him to death. Jesus is our example of openhearted living; of exhibiting wild love that dared to wash the feet of Judas, who betrayed Him; of reinstating Peter, who denied Him thrice. Jesus, in His divine irresistibility welcomed all, loved all, endured all.” All!
I’ve been trying to swallow this bitter reality. I have been Jesus’ enemy. I have:
- Relented too many times to premarital sex
- Chosen divorce
- Lied about my sin to protect my reputation
- Chewed relentlessly on the faults of my husband
- Broadcasted the faults of a family member like a spewing hydrant
Yet, he lets me wear this robe of His righteousness. He calls me friend. His mercy for my attitude, my irresponsibility, and broken promises to Him, others, and myself is new every morning!
God is love.
He loves me with 1 Corinthians 13 love. He is patient with me while I struggle to grasp the gospel. He is kind to me even though I have dismissed His instructions. He is not rude to me with snarls and reminders of my weaknesses. He does not force His rules on me but gives me the freedom to choose to say yes. He is not irritable with me because He’s exhausted from cleaning up my messes and yours, too.
He prays for me.
He empowers me.
While I was His enemy, He pursued me with a hope-filled love. He held out His hand to me, smiled, and offered His help.
In Luke chapter 6, Jesus gives us radical relationship instructions.
27 “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you.” 35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
There it is in verse 35: “He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” You and me, we are the ungrateful, evil ones, and He is merciful. He is kind to us.
The one who hurt me has seemed so ungrateful for my kindness and support. I will be merciful. I will be kind.
I am choosing to see this enemy as God’s little girl, hurt and walled off emotionally. When I do, she looks much like I once felt and still do at times.
I am choosing to take my ugly thoughts about her into the obedience of Christ; the obedience of praying for her and blessing her. (Luke 27-36)
I have more peace.
“The greatest challenge of my life is choosing to commune with God with everything I am, learning to receive His wild, but abundant love, then flinging it joyfully in people’s direction.”
Mary DeMuth, “Wall Around Your Heart”
Jennifer White pursues God in prayer with the Bible as her guide. She leads others to do the same at Prayerfully Speaking. Being wife to David is her highest calling. She recently completed her first book, Prayers for new Brides: Putting on the Armor After the Wedding Dress. #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK with her that God is and does "more than we can ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20). #GodAnswers