Today in small groups at Jr. High youth group we talked about how to love our enemies. Even though I’m a leader, it was refreshing to go over this. I learned a lot from Jr. Highers tonight.
Sometimes we hate people who we don’t even know. It could be the popular kids, or the geeks, whoever it is, sometimes we judge just because of reputation. We don’t like them because we’ve been told that they aren’t likable, or we don’t like them because no one else likes them. What we fail to take into account is that person’s background. Do their parents love them? Are they having problems with family or with other friends? Are they stressed out or struggling with God? I think most of the time people hurt others because they are hurt themselves. They don’t love because they are not loved.
But enemies aren’t just people who are mean to us. The Bible says to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but I think enemy is broader than just mean people. In this sense, an enemy can be anyone who is hard to love. There are people that I work with who are less than enjoyable to be around. They’re annoying, they’re awkward, they make bad choices, we argue. There are people who I used to be friends with and have had a falling out. It’s awkward now, or I just don’t want to talk with them, forgive them, love them.
And sometimes, loving someone doesn’t mean striking up a conversation, repairing a friendship, or creating a friendship. You don’t have to like the people that you need to love. We all have different personalities so naturally there are people that we aren’t going to love being around. I don’t think that’s bad. Even if you dislike someone, you can still hope for the best for them. You can forgive them, smile, wave, stick up for them, love them, and even kill them with kindness.
Loving someone can be hard. Sometimes the feelings that we have against someone are hard to get over. They overwhelm us because the feelings portray such a hard time in our lives or a really big hurt that we can’t get over. When we ask God, He will give us the love we need. He will be the love we need even when it seems impossible to love that person.
This week our challenge is to kill with kindness. To go out of our way to be nice to that person who is always made fun of, to smile at someone we don’t like, to stick up for someone when your friends are against them, to overwhelm with kindness.
So just as the Jr. High girls are challenged, I challenge you to kill with kindness this week. That may be a different person each day, one person the whole week, one person just once in the week. Whatever you do, let God’s love shine through you, His unconditional love, even to your enemies.
And as the Newsboys say, “Shine. Make ’em wonder what you got.”