who is my enemyJesus described an “enemy” as “anyone who is not for us.”  In light of that definition, we all have people with whom we work or cross paths – and sometimes live – who are not “for us.”  They can make our lives miserable.

But, incredibly, Jesus said, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’.  But I say to you, love your enemies.”

To love our friends is easy; to love our enemies is, to say the least, difficult…and unique.

At the end of the Civil War, many Northerners were demanding that the South be punished for the devastation the war had caused the United States.  In the midst of that issue, a group from the North visited President Lincoln in the White House, feeling he was being far too gracious and lenient with the South.  During their conversation, one man became so incensed at the lack of progress in the discussion that he stood up and pounded on Lincoln’s desk and yelled, “Mr. President, I believe in destroying my enemies!”

President Lincoln sat silent for a moment and reflected on the conversation and this man’s outburst.  Then, he slowly stood and replied, “Do we not destroy our enemies when we make them our friends?”

I believe this is what Jesus meant.  It is the kind of love that can literally change the world…but first changes us.