Dealing with Enemies

Proverbs 25:21-22

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.

There is a famous story from the First World War in which British and German soldiers left their trenches on Christmas Day 1914 and exchanged handshakes, Christmas greetings and presents, and even took part in games of soccer. Wikipedia records that this so-called ‘Christmas Truce’ took place in several locations across the Western Front, although fighting did continue elsewhere.

There must have been spirit-filled followers of Jesus in both armies. One could speculate that an awareness of the teaching of this passage of Scripture, which is repeated by Paul in the New Testament, may have prompted the Christmas Truce on the battlefields of Northern France. But perhaps it took place because warfare at that time retained an element of chivalry, that was subsequently lost as the war described as ‘the war to end all wars’ dragged on all the way to 1918 resulting in at least ten million deaths. Whatever the reason, the teaching of Scripture is clear: We are to love our enemies, even if it is not reciprocated. Although that may seem difficult, even impossible in a war footing, we cannot argue with the words of Jesus who said:

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45 NIV)

If you are serving in the military then it is important to follow orders, but that does not remove the possibility of loving the enemy and proving that love through prayer. It is not an option, it is a requirement. The same requirement exists for all of us in the daily relationships we encounter as part of life. At school, at college, at work, in church, and in our neighborhoods, we are to be known as people who love others, whatever the cost. That’s what Jesus did, all the way to the cross.


About David

David is the son of Ken and father of Nick, who first introduced him to blogging. Ken is a retired Baptist Minister who continues to preach regularly, despite being in his eighties. Nick is training for full time Baptist ministry after several years serving as a youth pastor. Somehow the being a preacher thing skipped a generation with David. Although half Scottish David grew up in England and in the Channel Island of Guernsey. He served in the British Merchant Navy after leaving school, and did not attend University until he was twenty-eight years old. By this time he was married to Marilyn and father to Nick, and Nick’s brother Michael. Another son (James) was born the day before the start of David’s final University examinations. Beth and John followed a few years later. The older boys are all married, and David and Marilyn have been presented with five grandsons and two grand-daughters to date, with one more on the way! Beth served with British Youth for Christ (YFC) for four years, two as a member and then a year as the leader of the Nomad cage football team. She then spent a year with a new YFC ministry known as The Cube, before leaving YFC to join the Youth and Children's Team at a large church in York, where she is also working part-time in a computer store. John, who is 19, is now the only one of our children still living at home. David and Marilyn met in 1973 and have been married since 1979. Marilyn is a trained nurse, who gave up nursing to be a full time mother, grandmother, and maker of cakes for pastors, youth pastors, and any church function that needs cakes. There is a rumour that she secretly reads David’s blogs. Family and church leave little time for hobbies, but David enjoys walking and cycling, and listening to music. He also dabbles with languages and is currently learning to speak Welsh. (By way of explanation the Welsh border is 11 miles from David's home, and his water bills arrive in both English and Welsh from Dŵr Cymru.) View all posts by David

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