– F. F. Bruce
Every Enemy Is Just a Friend Waiting To Be Converted
F.F. Bruce has a very interesting quote. It’s very easy to look at the world in terms of black and white. It’s very easy to divide the people in your life into three groups: friends, enemies, and neutrals. The reality of living with Jesus Christ day to day is this doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t have to look at the world in terms of these three divided camps of people. They can all be your friends. In fact, if we are truly honest with ourselves, there’s a lot more uniting us that dividing us.
We Are All Similar Than We Care To Admit
Even if you are really annoyed or disappointed at somebody to the point that you consider that person an enemy, you have to understand that we all have more things in common than the things that divide us. If we focus on the fact that we all basically need the same things, that is a great unifying factor.
If you realize that you need meaning and purpose in your life, guess what? The people that you’re annoyed at or the people that you consider your enemies have those needs as well. If you think you are fearful and if you have anxieties, your enemies have those as well. By realizing this and focusing on the things that you have in common, your enemies become more human to you.
That is really what’s driving the whole concept of friend vs. enemy. When we look at our friends, we see basically a reflection of ourselves, and our values. When we look at our enemies, on the other hand, we would like to pretend that we’re looking at completely different people with completely different needs, different values, and since they are so different, it’s okay to hate them.
However, if you pull down that wall and realize that they have the same needs as you, then they stop looking all that different. When they stop looking all that different, then you can start opening your heart to actually accepting them as friends and loving them.
Reach Out Without Compromising Your Principles
The good news about reaching out to enemies is that you have everything to gain, and nothing to lose. What can you lose? They can laugh at you, they would point fingers at you, or they would curse you. News flash: they’re already doing that. So you’re not really getting anything different if the worst case scenario happens.
The good news is that there is also a best case scenario which is they would be welcoming to your efforts of reaching out. As long as you don’t compromise your principles, you are fine. What’s important is that you let Jesus’ love in your heart to push you to want to love your enemies. This is extremely important, because it’s in the human heart to hate when people hate us back. That’s human nature.
But Jesus’ nature is completely different. Jesus wants us to love those who hate us. And this is very hard to do if you’re going to just rely on your human strength and your human nature. This project is all about testing your faith. Do you really have faith? Is Christ really your Lord and Savior? Apply this test. Reach out to your enemies without compromising your principles.
Convert Your Enemies with Your Examples and Traits
It’s easy to try to convert people with our words. This is how most people try to spread the truth. This is all well and good; however, if you’re dealing with people that hate you, and people you have hated, one of the most effective ways to convert is by example.
When you show respect to somebody, human nature’s tendency to reciprocity means that they will respect you back. When you show them good deeds, they will respond with good deeds back. That’s how you convert, through examples.
The good news is that you’re not alone in doing this. Because if you were truly alone and you were drawing on your own human power, it’s not going to happen. The human tendency is to push back when people push against you. When people slap you on one cheek, human nature dictates that your slap them back. It’s not to turn the other cheek. So, the good news is that you have the power of Jesus in your heart through the Holy Spirit that you can draw on, and always remember you’re doing this because you love Jesus.