Weekly Thought – February 25, 2014
Fred enjoyed laughter as “life lubricant.” As he aged, he believed humor was one of the key elements of aging well. And part of the freedom of laughter is the ability to let go of slights given by others.
Praying with us as we go forward with the work of Fred Smith, Sr. encourages and strengthens us. Thank you.
Enmity Toward Us
While we can avoid enmity toward others, we cannot control others’ enmity toward us. When we find we have an enemy, we can take a healthy review.
There are several reasons others dislike us. Here are a few:
1) Our involvement in a cause. Cliff Barrows of the Billy Graham team once told me that they are well received, but there is always the offense of the Cross. In war times we see lines drawn creating political enemies. The poignant book, All Quiet on the Western Front showed the pathos of war.
2) Being different from others. Some people just don’t like anything “foreign.” We had a home in another state for years. There was a clear feeling we were “flat landers” and not truly accepted. I asked a local how long we would have to be there before we were accepted as one of them. “Oh, about 50 years, I’d say.”
3) Our self-centeredness. We are selfish by nature. The paradox of Christianity is that we are to be servants of all. We are to use our time and talents not just for ourselves, but for others to the glory of God.
4) Our natural aggression. Man, according to Dr. Karl Menninger, may explain away 95% of what we used to call sin except for two things: aggression and self-destruction. Aggression is the willingness, or even desire, to hurt others. One of the five Smith brothers was severely handicapped from birth. I saw him laughed at and taunted. But I saw one of my brothers devote much of his early life protecting and supporting him. Sometimes we wrongly call it practical joking, or one-upmanship, or even clever repartee. But whether it is socially acceptable or not, it is aggression and it is a way that many enemies are developed.
5) Hostile dependence. Whether in business, community, or especially family, we think we are offering assistance to make things easier for another. Rather than appreciation, we end up in an adversarial position because others resent their dependence. I believe in “helping where help is help.”
Think carefully about: 1) What creates the enmity between me and another? 2) How do I deal with animosity? 3) Who is an enemy and shouldn’t be?
Words of Wisdom: “I believe in helping where help is help.”
Wisdom from the Word: “A person’s wisdom makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 NET Bible)