Weekly Thought – February 4, 2014
Fred was a pragmatist and a realist. He never allowed himself to discount the value of a difficulty. His famous “Never lose the good of a bad situation” emphasizes his analytical nature. Nothing was wasted. When most chose to wall off the influence of enemies, Fred studied their impact…to the good.
The final preparations for the Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute events at Palm Beach Atlantic University are moving at top speed. Please check out www.bwfli.com to get a taste of PBA. Continue praying for team members Al Angell, John Begley, Hartzel Black, Ron Cunningham, Krish Dhanam, Marianne Dodge, Jim Hailey, Garry Kinder,Tanya Magnus, Mark Modesti, Jack Murphy, Joe Petersen, JJ Prendamano, Cliff and Marie Shiepe, Keith and Carolyn Stonehocker, Kat Van Dusen, Pat Walters, Dan Williams, and Brenda A. Smith.
The Blessing of Enemies
It is difficult to say, “Thank you for enemies,” but if we are thankful in everything, then we must. There is value in opposition. There is nothing that makes us take stock or do self-evaluation than the awareness someone thoroughly dislikes us. Knowing someone believes the world would be better off without us challenges our faith and our character.
Our command to love our enemies is uncommon. The historian Michael N. Hart says that Christianity enjoys one of its finest distinctives in loving our enemies. In most world religions, revenge is not just supported, but commanded.
I believe we are commanded to love our enemies because our faith is founded on love – God’s love. As long as there is someone we cannot love, we are incomplete in our love. When we live with unforgiveness for another, we diminish our ability to receive the forgiveness of God for ourselves. In loving our enemies, we understand that God loves us. This gives us the possibility of relief from one of our most damaging emotions – guilt.
The soul, once released from guilt exults, “I have been forgiven!” This was the experience of Martin Luther who was so aware of his sins he named them over and over. Still he worried that his faulty memory failed him and some sins remained unnamed. When he became convinced he was saved by grace alone, he experienced true relief for he knew he was forgiven.
The father of the prodigal son celebrated the return of the errant boy with a robe, a ring, and a festive banquet. The son was forgiven before he returned, but only in the reception did he realize that.
Dr. James Cain of the Mayo Clinic says that many of America’s stomach troubles could be cured by forgetting the past. However, they can’t do that because they can’t forgive themselves, nor receive the forgiveness of God. The Apostle Paul told us he deals with it as “forgetting the things that are past.” It is critical to understand that it isn’t “forgive and forget,” but “forgiven, I forget.”
This week carefully consider: 1) Who are my enemies? 2) How am I loving them? 3) What assures me I am forgiven?
Words of Wisdom: “When we forgive others, we understand God forgives us.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NET Bible)