How many times in your life have you heard a sentence that started with those words? Maybe the better question is how many times did you listen when you heard those words? Remember what GOD said:
“It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” – Ecclesiastes 7:5, 8 NIV
If you were like me, you didn’t like being told someone else was smarter or knew better than you (still a problem for me sometimes!). I read these verses and heard lessons and sermons on the words from Ecclesiastes. In school I learned that Abraham Lincoln, a very wise man, said “Do we not destroy our enemies when we make them our friends?” How can that even be possible? I mean, when someone hurts me, whether intentional or not, or physically or mentally, you are telling me to make that person my friend? Even JESUS teaches us:
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you …. ” – Matthew 5:44 NIV
I don’t want to pray for those people, let alone be friends with them! I want to take revenge. I want them to hurt more than they hurt me. I tell you the truth, if I had listened, had really heard my parents and my teachers, I could have bypassed so much of the hurt in my life. Being associated with and influenced by peers who are not Christians leads to a lifetime of pain. I never wanted to be rebuked for the things I did and said that went against the teachings of JESUS. I wanted to have ‘fun’, and to ensure that I did, I chose to listen to the siren song of fools. I was so busy having fun I didn’t have time to think about how miserable I was. Thankfully, for all of us sinners – and that term encompasses the entire human race – there is Grace and Mercy offered freely to us. We have the choice. Do we live with gratitude and love, or do we stumble and flail our way through life? Do we keep a sober mind (having a glass or 2 of wine or a beer can actually be good for you; it’s the excessive drinking that gets us into trouble)? Is it our choice to satiate our minds with excesses of ‘fun’ and business and even family to the point of putting the LORD in the background?
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
Pray for your enemies. Love those people who make you angry and who hurt you. Seek out the ones you don’t want to forgive and make them your friend. Sound impossible? That’s because it is impossible in our human capacity. It is only with GOD’S Love and GOD’S help that any of this becomes possible. Pray for me that I may walk the walk. Amen.