The Virtue of Having Enemies

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)

It is no compliment to say about a Christian that he has no enemies, for that is the same as saying he has accomplished nothing. The apostle Paul had many bitter enemies, and they finally got him executed. In fact, almost all of the great heroes of the faith, through all the centuries since Satan gained his victory over Adam and Eve, have had to overcome bitter opposition from that wicked one.

So instead of resenting our enemies, we should thank God for them, for they enable us to become more like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Only through such experiences can we learn what it means to say, with Paul: “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). Only if we have enemies can we learn to obey Christ’s difficult command to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

The Lord Jesus easily could have called on 12 legions of angels to rout His enemies (Matthew 26:53). Instead, He submitted to their vicious insults and cruel tortures, even praying in His agony on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The enemies of Christ killed Him, but had they not done so, He would not have died for our sins, and we would be lost eternally. This is a mystery to ponder, and difficult to comprehend, yet, as the Bible promises, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee” (Psalm 76:10).

The enmity of men can thus be a channel of divine grace to the believer, for “tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:3), and “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). HMM

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