You’re familiar with the old written law, “Love your friend,” and its unwritten companion, “Hate your enemy.” I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst . . . for then you are working out your true selves, your God created selves. (Matthew 5:43-45, MSG)
I cherish Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. They are so loving.
But deep down, sometimes I ask: “Is this asking too much? After all, I’m only human.”
Have you ever had an enemy at work that it was just asking too much of you to love?
Maybe a co-worker? A customer? Even a boss? A direct report?
Can anything be more uncomfortable?
It’s like a spiritual rash in the wrong place. Wherever you turn, it chafes.
You walk on eggshells. You lose your patience.
You try to be kind. You get insults.
You respond in anger.
And the beat goes on . . .
The ugly face of hate manifests in the relationship . . . and in you.
Before you know it, you stop speaking.
How’s that for being a Christian at work?
But really, is it possible to love someone who hates you?
Does the weight of someone else’s anger and loathing crush you into similar responses?
And sure, maybe Jesus lived that perfectly loving life. He forgave those who were killing him.
But, He was God. We are not, right?
“Is this asking too much? After all, I’m only human.”
It is too much . . . unless you love your enemy out of a personal relationship with God through Christ.
As a Christian, you have a personal experience with Christ. As a Christian, you know that it is Christ who lives in you (Galatians 2:20).
Jesus said that on our own, we can do nothing; but connected to him, we can do it all (John 15:5).
When you became new in Christ, you found within a new maturity – the presence of Jesus.
Paul describes it like this: Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am (Philippians 4:13, MSG).
So, what about loving that enemy at work? Can you make it through that?
You’re right. It’s asking too much . . . for you alone.
You have a companion to conquer the “too much.” Jesus lives within you.
It is Jesus within you who starts loving that enemy right now.
Respond with love despite the blowback.
Show your enemy who lives within you.
Offer your forgiveness and then serve him/her at work.
Who knows? Through your love from Christ within, the enemy may find Jesus, too.
And then, all of a sudden, everyone around you experiences increased faith with greater joy at work, and loves God and others more.
Mike Van Vranken
Find some great strategies to love your work enemy on Amazon.
What is one act of love Christ calls you to share with your enemy at work today?