Who Is Our Enemy?

Today's devotion is from HomeTouch.


“But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  (Luke 6:27-31)

The Bible reading above is from Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount. In this passage, Jesus asks us to love our enemy.

But who is our enemy?

During wartime, we know who the enemy is. Often, inspiring stories emerge when two enemies engage.

For example, there’s the story from World War 2 about Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler at the controls of a German Messerschmitt who refused to shoot down a crippled American plane trying to get back to England. The 21-year-old American pilot, Charlie Brown, was on his first mission. His crew were wounded or dead. His plane was riddled with bullet holes.

Stigler saw that they were in trouble and felt that to bring the plane down would be murder. Instead, he escorted them to safety and peeled off, after saluting Brown. Decades later, the two pilots met in a well-publicized friendly encounter.

Or, you might run across the account of the Japanese soldier who gave back a graduation ring belonging to American prisoner of war, Mario “Motts” Tonelli, a former professional football player. The officer had studied in America and seen Motts play. According to one report, he said, “You were an [amazing] player,” as he handed the ring back to his prisoner. “Good luck.”

Today, you might read inspirational stories of Lebanese Christians loving their Syrian enemies, or of collaboration between various Palestinian and Jewish artistic groups.

But do you have any enemies? Probably not. But it seems that everyone in America is mad at someone else for some reason or another. You may not have enemies, but they sure do! Do you know what I mean?

What can you do?

Love them, says Jesus. Love your friends, love your enemies, and love the enemies of your friends.

How can anyone stay the enemy of love?

- Timothy Merrill

O God, it is so easy to forget the humanness of those who are angry and at odds with the world. Help me to love those who have forgotten how to love. Let me show them, with your help. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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