Even good people have enemies. Jesus proved this beyond all doubt. If it weren’t true, he wouldn’t have been put to death. Likewise, followers of Christ are at enmity with the world and will often stand at odds with our fellow man.
John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
But there’s a major difference between having enemies for the sake of Christ and having enemies because we’re jerks. Though Christians will necessarily have enemies because of our gospel commitments, we are never allowed to be jerks.
Unfortunately, some think that the more enemies they have, the stronger their faith must be, so they work very hard to make as many enemies as possible. The result is a person filled with ironies. One moment he speaks of the glories of the gospel, but the next moment he screams at his waitress because his coffee hasn’t been refilled. Christ did not call us to make enemies out of slow or distracted waitresses.
So here is a list of surefire ways people can unnecessarily develop enemies. When we engage in these attitudes and activities, we are not furthering gospel causes. Actually, these will quickly ruin a person’s witness.
It seems our sin natures bend us in this direction. From early childhood, lots of people are just plain mean. It’s almost like they know no other way. Many who claim to follow Christ are rude and intolerable, arrogant and snooty. They seem to always say, “I’m better than you and we both know it.” The griper at the restaurant, the grumpy spouse, the provoking parent, the middle-fingered driver – all of these (and many others) create enemies at astonishing rates.
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Telling lies frequently will earn you lots of enemies. Most people aren’t good liars, and usually people living and working around a liar catch on quickly. Few things will earn you enemies like taking liberties with truth. If someone asks you, “Can you teach Sunday School,” and you don’t feel comfortable with that idea, then don’t say, “I can’t because I have to help my brother move.” Why not just tell the truth? “I don’t feel comfortable with it.”
This is especially true in marriage. Some of the worst enemies are people who once were married. But it also goes for all of life. If it appears you can’t be trusted, you will find yourself at odds with many.
It is important to treat human beings like human beings. Christians should go out of their way to show proper respect to atheists (for example), not because atheists are correct about their beliefs, but because atheists are human beings.
QUIZ: Which GOP candidate claims to be a follower of Christ, but is mean, dishonest, unfaithful, and disrespectful? I suppose that even though these things create enemies, billions of dollars creates lots of friends.
Bottom line: Christians have enemies by virtue of our allegiance to truth. We don’t need to create more enemies with our words, attitudes, and actions.