Do you do good to your enemies?
How do you treat those people whom you don’t like, or feel threatened, misunderstood, and untrusted by? These are the people you know don’t have your best at heart.
I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t treat them very well. And I’m not talking about how we treat them on the outside. How we treat them with our thoughts and in our heart?
So, here’s a confession: I hate cats. Well, hate is a pretty strong word, and I like kittens, but as soon as they show the first sign of teenage growth I’m done. Admittedly, it is absolutely conditional.
Last summer, a friend asked me to cat-sit for her. You can imagine my joy :) But besides wanting to do her a favor, she has a great apartment that consists of windows instead of walls, so being an introvert I jumped at the chance. It would be a week alone in a well-lit apartment. I read, I cooked, I prayed, I journaled; it was great, even if it was with… Roxanne.
The bed in the apartment was separated from the wall by a small nightstand. Roxanne loves to sit on that nightstand in the middle of the night. The problem was she became bored rather quickly, so she’d only be on the nightstand for a few minutes at a time. Each and every time she went to and from the nightstand, she insisted on climbing over my head. Or my shoulders. Or my back. Sometimes she’d linger. Sometimes she’d whine.
By the end of the third unrestful night, I was literally yelling, profanely, at Roxanne.
Then it hit me: Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
What was in my heart???
But here’s the gospel: when we were in sin, Christ died for us. We were His enemies… and He chose to do good to us.
When we do good to our enemies (or even our pets in some cases!), we copy the gospel. And that’s what David did. When he had the opportunity to kill Saul, it says that, “his conscious” got to him, and he wound up kneeling before him instead. There was recognition in his spirit that attests to a transformed heart.
Later the same man, after he sinned with Bathsheba would cry, “Create in me a clean heart…” It’s about transformation, not behavior modification. And it starts in the heart; it’s a change that only comes from the gospel.
Today’s challenge: Pray for the person you are least inclined to love well. Allow the Lord to transform you by reminding you how good He has been to you. Find joy in that.
As silly as it sounds, after the whole Roxanne “incident” I spent some time in prayer about the murder that was clearly in my heart. I didn’t even know it existed. I actually became a little attached to Roxanne by the end of the week. I put her in the bathroom the next night, but I genuinely like her :)