Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email: dena.netherton@gmail.com

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to Love Your Enemies

My daughter and I visited the pet store the other day. We both love puppies and kittens and soft little bunnies. Just as we were about to leave, I glanced in the window and saw the guinea pig and the baby bunny. Ahh. I just had to snap a photo. Baby bunnies are pretty gentle, but guinea pigs can be kind of feisty. But seeing those two little creatures snuggled up together just warmed my heart.

Of course, it's even more entertaining when we see a predator-type animal playing with a prey-type animal.
Utube videos abound with snippets of cats and mice playing. I've seen one with a parrot and a rottweiler, numerous ones with a cat and a dog, and one where a dog was cavorting with a deer. The greater the contrast between tiny prey and big predator, the more hits on Utube.

It amazes us when we see animals that should be enemies actually getting along, even loving on each other. How does that happen?
Somehow, the instinct to attack has been de-fused by an initial meeting that inspired an instinct to nurture. It's an anomaly.

So, does this work with humans who are enemies?
Oh, I'm not talking about a  scenario where two children from enemy cultures grow up together. I'm  talking about treating a sworn enemy with love and kindness.
Peace treaties keep the lid on hostility, to a point. But peace treaties cannot make the heart love an enemy.
Jesus said: "Love your enemy; do good to those who hate you." (Luke 6:27)
How is that possible?
And, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him and if your enemy is thirsty, give him something to drink." (Romans 12:20)
What?!!
This is only possible by a transformation of the heart, birthed by God Himself.
It's just not natural to love someone who hates you. (Except maybe your own children!)
But:
"Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2)
How can we be transformed? By God's grace, His gift to those who believe in Him. This Grace begins to work a change in the believer's heart.

Look at all the letters to the first Christians that begin with:
  • "Grace and peace to you." (Rom 1:7)
  • "Grace and peace to you." (1 Cor. 1:3)
  • "Grace and peace to you" (2 Cor. 1:2)
  • "Grace and peace to you. (Gal. 1:3)
  • "Grace and peace to you."(Ephesians 1:2)
And there are loads more "Grace and peace" verses.

The apostles knew that without God's grace we simply cannot love others with God's love. God's grace is a miracle, given to us at salvation. But appropriating God's grace for our daily living means that we surrender our right to feel the feelings and think the thoughts of the "old man." We must get to know God's grace-filled character. Then we must choose to agree with and follow God's ways. His grace allows us to see our:
  • difficult family member
  • exasperating neighbor
  • awful politician of the opposite party
  • the hate-filled enemy bent on your destruction. . .

 the way God sees them: as people who desperately need the mercy of God.
His is truly an Amazing Grace.

3 comments:

  1. Without God's grace I can do NOTHING, especially when it comes to showing kindness to my enemies.

    Have a great week Dena :-)

    ~Ron

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  2. Thanks, Ron. Isn't God amazing?!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Dena -

    Years ago, I heard Corrie Ten Boom talk about coming face to face with a guard from a Nazi concentration camp. Memories assailed her, but by God's grace she was able to forgive him.

    Blessings,
    Susan

    ReplyDelete