Faithfulness to our enemies

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 6 – A closer look at the various types of people with whom we must be faithful

One of the hardest things to learn as a Christian is how to handle your enemies, and defend yourself from them, yet without becoming like them. When dealing with fools or wicked people, they will use lies and dirty tricks and they will conspire with others to undermine you by any means possible. They recognise no moral or ethical boundaries to their behaviour. In short, they will do whatever they believe they can get away with, regardless of whether it is right or wrong. Such considerations mean nothing to them.

When an immature, fleshly, worldly Christian comes up against such opposition at work, or even at church, there is a tendency to operate in the flesh and to “give as good as you get”. They will tend to respond in like manner and hit back at the person wrongly, even to the extent of using the same worldly tactics and methods. They will justify this, if they consider it at all, by saying “Well, they started it” or “They did it to me, so why can’t I do it back to them?”

However, that line of reasoning isn’t valid. We cannot fight fire with fire. That is we can’t use the same carnal, devious methods that our enemies use. That makes the battle more difficult. We have to realise that other people can be wicked, and therefore anticipate all sorts of deviousness from them, whilst not doing the same in return.

We can certainly be very firm, decisive and assertive. We can also confront people, sack them, give evidence against them and so on. We just can’t sink to their level, by sinning in our handling of them. A mature Christian therefore treats his enemies better than most people treat their friends, even while he stands up to them.

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