Learn How to Treat Your Enemies

Learn How to Treat Your Enemies

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Saul lifted up his voice and wept. He said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. … For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.” (1 Samuel 24:16-20)

With three thousand men, Saul went in search of David. Saul wanted David dead by all means. When Saul was faced with Goliath, he did not go with three thousand men. He hidin the palace shaking with fear. By the power of God, David faced Goliath and God gave him victory.

Saul, being a man who sought the praise of people could not bear it seeing that the women of Israel were singing the praises of David. Saul developed a hatred for David as a result of his inferiority complex. He just couldn’t stand it seeing that the boy David was now in the limelight. Allow others to shine or you might end up like Saul.

Saul failed to realize that by fighting David, he was trying to fight God who was the secret of David’s success. When Samuel told Saul that for his disobedience, he had been rejected by God, Saul thought that Samuel was joking. It is possible to be anointed and powerless. This is why we must be careful to avoid sin in our lives. The fact that you are anointed should never lead you to pride; anointing can fail.

Despite his three thousand armed men, God put Saul in David’s hand. Saul was pressed and wanted to relieve himself. He went into a cave, the same cave that David and his men were hiding. David saw the opportunity to strike Saul but restrained himself. David would not even allow his men to attack Saul: “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed.”

This action of David provides for us a model and a template of how to treat your enemies. Perhaps by putting Saul into David’s hands, God was also putting David to the test to see his reaction. If you treat your enemies the same way they treat you, what makes you different from them? Jesus asked us: “If you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:47)

Be kind to your enemies not because they deserve it but because you are better than them. Be like David, if you ever get the opportunity to strike back, return with a good deed instead. As the book of Proverbs tell us: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:21-22). The term “coals of fire” as used here refer to a burning conscience, the type that Saul felt when he realized that David had just spared his life. Saul found himself blessing David. With his own mouth, Saul declared that David would be King.

If you return hate for hate, you are still old wine in an old wine skin. Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39) What Jesus is saying here is that if you ever find yourself in a position of dealing with your enemies, show them love instead. Opportunities for revenge will surely come. Break the cycle of negativity with kindness.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my trust in you, and may my trust become visible by my life of holiness. As you called the disciples in today’s Gospel passage, call me every day to be with you and work your wonders through me. Amen.

Bible Study: 1 Sam. 24:3-21, Ps. 57:2-4,6,11, Mark 3:13-19).

Fr. Abu

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