If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? ~Abraham Lincoln”
The Lincoln quote is one I posted a few days ago. FloatingSpeck had a comment or two on it; we had a conversation about it online. Thank you, Speck, for inspiring this entry! Everyone should go find her site and see the photos she posts as her blog. Very nice shots! https://myblueworld2016.wordpress.com/
Sometimes we have adversaries whom we just can’t get to. You try to get along with them, but they are adversarial, passive aggressive, mean, or just plain cuckoo for Co-Co Puffs. What do you do?
Even harder is when someone close – perhaps family – commits some great offense that simply must be dealt with. If they don’t own up to their actions, if they refuse to make amends, what can you do?
First, you have to find a way past your anger and maybe even hatred. It won’t do you any good, so find a way past it. It’s more easily said than done, for the greater the love, the greater the hurt!
Second, we need to do more than just stop hating. Matthew 5:24 – “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”
No, we aren’t told to just stop hating. We need to turn our hate back into love. Why? I wrote a recent article on that very topic; the relationship between love and hate. https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/hate-and-love/
Emotions are for what we care about. You need to care to either love, hate or anything in between. If you stop hating and leave it there, you simply aren’t caring anymore. That isn’t right either.
There are people who have been in my life that I have cut off contact with – even family – due to the nature of betrayal, not just of me but in one case of their own children. I’ve only managed to stop hating. Praying for them over the years has helped with letting go of my rage. I don’t wish them ill. I hope they find forgiveness and that I see them in heaven. I want to see no one go to hell.
But I can’t say I love them. I’m not really doing it right yet. Will I ever? Good question.
I feel from reading other bible passages, that separation can be an acceptable solution. Paul wrote in more than one letter that unbelievers who are weakening the church from within should be excluded, but that it should be done in love, hoping that it will be a strong enough sanction they will repent.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
This passage, in context, refers to sex and marriage, was written to the Corinthians, who, believing a little too much in forgiveness, figured they were free visit the prostitutes, both in the temples and the streets. The principle, however, applies to maintaining relationships or even friendships that tear you down.
Family members referenced above who betrayed their own children, well, my anger burned particularly hot. I later found a verse that told me why:
1 Timothy 5:8
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
Flying in the face of God’s Will for others and family especially, it seems to me we should draw a line somewhere to preserve our own lives and souls. However, we need to do it in self-defense and correction, not hate.
“A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition reject;…”
Also, love is not necessarily an emotion. It is a commitment too. Perhaps that is the love the Bible refers to. We can care enough to forgive and pray for them. But, until they recognize their hurtfulness and accept both God’s forgiveness and ours, they have made the choice to be an enemy, not us. Whenever they do repent, we are charged to welcome them back, not just with open arms, but open hearts as well!