Excerpt from Psalm 27: 7 – 14
“Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”
Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson
Who are your enemies? Do you have enemies? Sometimes, you get the impression that success in being a Christian would be being so nice as not to have any enemies whatsoever. Being a good Christian means being liked by all, being sort of like the “most popular student on campus.” Really?
Scripture is forever mentioning our enemies. Here the Psalmist prays that God would lead him “on a level path because of my enemies.” Jesus did not say, “Don’t have any enemies.” He said, “Love your enemies.”
While setting out to make enemies is certainly not the point, standing for something and making a difference will probably make you some enemies. Early in ministry I was stunned, frankly, by the number of people in one congregation who were disturbed by my leadership. I sought the counsel of a mentor who listened to my bewildered complaint. He then said, “If you’re not making some enemies, you’re probably not doing your job.” Are we, my Christian brothers and sisters, doing our job?
But the Psalmist, and Jesus, recognize that having enemies, which may come with the territory of faithfulness to Christ and his way, also brings with it spiritual danger. If we enjoy having enemies or focus overly much upon them, we are in danger of falling. Hence, the Psalmist prays, “Lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”
Dare to live in such a way that you could actually tick someone off. And don’t ever think that is the point. The point is not to have enemies. It is to live a life so centered in God and God’s way that it just might happen.
Grant me the courage, Lord, to live in a way that makes a difference, even makes enemies. And grant me the grace, if not to like, then to love my enemies. Amen.
About the Author
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His most recent book is Changing the Conversation: A Third Way for Congregations. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com.
Live simply. Love generously.
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“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
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