Two Ways to Benefit from Your Enemies
You can benefit from your enemies.
Indeed, you not only benefit from your families, relatives and friends and all who love you, but you can also benefit from your enemies, from those who oppose you, bother you, despise you, hate you, treat you badly.
If you understand this, you can turn those negative relationships into an asset.
This doesn’t mean that you intentionally will have to make enemies or give people reason to hate you. However, these people happen to be around us, anyway. So why not make them part of a positive purpose!
How can you do this?
Have you ever asked the Lord to give you more love for the people around you, and he answered your prayer by confronting you with somebody who you really didn’t like? Or you asked the Lord to give you more patience, and he sent someone in your way who really challenged your patience?
What we learn from this is that the Lord often answers this kind of prayers, not as we may expect, by miraculously giving us wonderful feelings for these people, but by providing a training opportunity. The Lord is a master of using negative experiences for his purposes - and for our benefit.
That is - for our maturity.
Let’s now apply this principle to your negative relationships.
You may start out on a rather convenient level that most of us probably would be able to manage. Just start with one of your easier ”enemies”. This could be someone who just slightly irritates or opposes you. Maybe there is a neighbor or a colleague or a relative who would qualify in this respect.
You start out by deciding to think and speak positively of this person and by doing so, you increasingly change your attitude towards that person. You also pray for him or her, not in order to change them, but to bless. Maybe you can also find a way to express your new attitude by a simple action, like a smile, an encouraging comment, a helping hand or whatever comes to your mind.
And remember, you don’t do it in the first place in order to turn this person round and make them love you, but for their own sake. For just loving them unconditionally.
And, as your second agenda, you also do it for the sake of your own maturity.
By doing so, you actually may win a friend, which would be most welcome and the ultimate success. This would be your first benefit. However, there is no guarantee for that.
In case this doesn’t happen, you can go on loving this person anyway, and head out for your second benefit.
In the worst case, you may have to continue with this for the rest of your life, without ever getting a positive response; be ready for that. The other person’s negative response is not your responsibility and should not discourage you.
The secret that enables you to go on is your second agenda, that is, your own maturity. And with that in mind, you always succeed, independently of your ”enemy’s” response.
By continuing to bless and love and pray, you are not only doing something in favor of this other person, but you are also improving yourself. Day by day you are proceeding towards a higher level of maturity. After some time of training, you may see your success and be ready to deal with some harder case and then succeed there, as well.
On the outside, your one-way love may look like a hopeless endeavor.
Yet, for you who loves, it always leads to a victory.