Who is your enemy? Do you believe you have enemies? If you do, do you believe you are just supposed to love them more, love them better, that love will win them over? Do you believe that, like Jesus did, you should hand yourself over to the ones seeking your demise? Do you believe you must aggressively defend yourself?
A lot of us get very confused and rattled in spirit because we don’t know what to do with enemies. Our efforts to love them seem to fail. People’s hate can really damage and disillusion our faith walk, harden our hearts. Many walk in fear in their careers because of it. Many leave their fellowship and service in ministry because of offense, because of hurt, because of continuous attack that wears down and wearies the spirit. When attack comes, it is easy to do one or more of the following: stop trusting, cut people off, make inaccurate conclusion about God’s character, vilify our accusers, panic, become depressed, give up.
Added confusion or frustration can come when we share our pain with others. Often Christians can be too quick to say to the one hurting, “We don’t battle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…” In other words, Christians can be too quick to tell others their enemy is not really another person; their enemy is spiritual only, i.e. the devil and his forces at work. I’ve been guilty of giving this input right off. I need to stop doing it. Why? One, its empty comfort, and two, I’ve realized it is not how God counsels and comforts me. Why then would I counsel someone else differently? I need to model the way He comforts me so I can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
So first, know that going around quoting Ephesians 6:12 and 1 Peter 5:8 is not the best first approach when you are listening to someone under strain from the wicked words and vicious actions of others. Also, know for yourself if you are being wrongly accused, insidiously attacked, if there is a vicious plot in play against you, God will first and repeatedly acknowledge the injustice and validate your feelings to draw you into His arms for comfort, counsel, and wisdom. Spend time there in his arms, a good amount of time.
If you aren’t used to someone acknowledging your pain or validating your feelings, knowing that God will do this with you is surprising. And I personally believe that knowing him this way is critical to hearing God accurately. When you are suffering wrongdoing, before He tells you how to respond, He is first very willing to validate your pain. He will acknowledge the wicked schemes of others set against you. He does not say, “Buck up, get over it, don’t cry, stop being weak.” He will console you by giving you perspective and helping you rest in your innocence and in His ultimate response. Psalm 3, Psalm 5, Psalm 7, Psalm 11, and Psalm 17 are examples that support what I just said.
Think about it. When a good father finds out his child is being bullied, picked on, attacked, betrayed, harassed, what is his response? He consoles his child. He wipes tears. He holds in extended embrace. Then he acts. He counsels his child. He defends. He protects. He uses his influence and authority to seek justice. He makes his upset known. In this way an earthly father will let his child see through his actions that they are loved.
In an even more powerful way, God as Heavenly Father, wants His children to know he sees unjust suffering. He reads the intents of hearts. He wants his people to know that to the pure, he will show himself to be pure, but to the devious, He will show himself shrewd (Psalm 18:26). If you know Him this way, your soul is stilled much more quickly, you rest easier in His love; you wait for His response to your enemies instead of taking action yourself (Romans 12:19). You are able to say as King David said, “I have kept myself from the ways of the violent”- Psalm 17:4. You are increasingly able to be silent under duress (Matthew 27:12, 14), to bless and not curse, to do good and not evil, Romans 12:14.
God the Father was very open with Jesus about the wicked plots, evil schemes, insidious thoughts, and back-stabbing betrayals of others set against him. Jesus was very aware of what was happening to him and why. Not only was He aware, he proclaimed it in the midst of his enemies (John 7:19, John 8:37, John 8:40). Jesus also shared with his closest friends that He (the Son of Man- Daniel 7:13-14) would be crucified (Mark 9:31, Matthew 26:1-2).
As I write this, a prayer request came in from a good friend who is under insidious attack in a high level position. Just this morning he was given an impossible deadline from people intent on seeking his job and livelihood. People are serious about seeing him suffer and getting him fired. It’s an attack that hasn’t just been thrust upon him today; it’s been going on for awhile now. His wife recently received Psalm 7 and Psalm 17 to give to him as a response from the Father’s heart to him. Notice God affirming mortal enemies. Read those Psalms. Who sees his innocence? Who rescues? Who saves? Who vindicates? Who displays his wrath? Notice the one who falls into the pit isn’t the one being attacked; it’s the one who was pregnant with evil intent. Letting these truths transform us is a path towards peace that surpasses understanding with our hearts and minds guarded in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Jesus knew we’d need acknowledgment that attacks are real. So he told us to expect attack, and be wise as serpents, gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:2).
If you struggle believing God’s defense of you, your first prayer should be for healing regarding the Father’s heart for you. Ask the LORD to help you process your hurt, your pain, and your confusion with him. Ask for ears to understand his perception of the situation.
Evaluate whether you first take your pain to others and flush it out mainly there. Notice if you tend to suffer in silence, thinking God won’t help. Ask yourself, do I believe God is a good and loving father? (Do make sure you haven't contributed to the chaos, if so, just go to God for mercy. He lovingly forgives and will help you go to people you've hurt.)
For those who through relationship have come to know and experience that God is good, we find rest in His presence. We believe He will act, we proclaim to others that what our enemy meant for evil, God will transform for good. Our path straightens and fills with light and divine power. We can pray for our enemies. Now we respond in God’s power and are not used as an instrument of the evil one. Now we can do good to those who hate us.
Jesus knew his Father loved him, Mark 1:11. He knew God would not abandon him to the grave, Psalm 16:10. He knew who He was and what his purpose was, Luke 10:21-22. He stood strong in the face of opposition. His final words on the cross were of victory, “It is finished.”
Follow Christ on his path, draw nearer to his suffering and look closely at the Lamb of God. As you do so, your suffering can find meaning and purpose. Your heart can become more receptive to the Father’s heart for you. The way to the Father’s heart is through Christ (John 8:19).
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Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"