Love Your Enemies

I have recently encountered a funny scenario where someone I know insisted that they had a new enemy and that they would be praying for her.  Only, I cannot understand how this person would view the other as an enemy when they'd had only a minor miscommunication.  Even still, while I chuckled at this particular situation, the premise is true.

In a former job, I had a person there who despised me and went out of her way not only to make my day very uncomfortable but to an extent tried to sabotage my career.  While on the one hand, I felt very irritated by this, on the other hand, I felt sorry for her.  How sad to see anyone so consumed with hate.

I found myself praying more and more for this person.  Not that she would leave me alone and go away, but that she would not be so unhappy and hateful.  What affected me during the day when I had to encounter her was no doubt an affliction to her all the time and for all kinds of reasons.  I still pray for her.

It's been repeated often enough that it sounds trite, but it remains true anyway: hate and unforgiveness are the bars that hold a prisoner, and the prisoner is you.  And I feel a sincere pang of sadness for people who choose to live that way.

It is not to say that while praying for my "enemies" - or perhaps more appropriately, those that seek to do me harm - that I just lay down and let myself become a victim to them.  That is not the case, and I believe we need to take appropriate action when people begin to harass, stalk, or slander in ways that could become dangerous.  Sometimes people feel flattered to be an object of someone's hatred, but courting that sort of irrational hate is unhealthy and sometimes dangerous.  You cannot control how people will feel about you, but you can control your reaction to it.

There is no reason to tolerate any behavior from someone that poses a threat.  In my case, it was job-related, but even then I made it quite clear that I would seek formal action against any attempt to actually sabotage or harass me at work.

I don't believe in seeking vengeance, but I also don't believe in making myself a victim either.  I can be very patient, but I am not going to lose my livelihood.  I did not retaliate against the individual making my life miserable, I simply sought help through the appropriate channels. But I kept praying for this person as well.  Because while I felt irritated, I suspect the other person may have been losing sleep at night.  That is so terribly sad to me!

"But to those who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:27-28