Dealing with someone who dislikes you is never easy. It is like walking on eggshells. You are very uncomfortable and always uneasy because you’re constantly butting heads. It is bad enough if it is a co-worker or boss but It is even more difficult if we live with the person(s) and cannot avoid interacting with him/her. So as Christians, what do we do? How do we handle such situations?
Here are Five Godly Ways to Deal With an Enemy:
1. Avoid the conflict – As soon as we see it raising its head – walk away. It is often hard to do since everything in us is screaming to react and to make ourselves heard. But we should always pause, take a breath and quickly ask ourselves: will what I am about to say really help the situation? Will what I want to say and what I actually say be the same? What about the way that it might be said? What about the non-christian onlooker? What will s/he think? Of even greater importance, will God be pleased? Paul says in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” In other words – as Christians, we should avoid conflict once we can. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26: “be angry and sin not“. So while we have no control over what the other person does or says, we can control what WE say or do. We must remember that God has called us to a standard of Godly living and we must uphold it even in the face of conflict.
2. Do not hold a grudge. There is nothing worse than having your mind in mental turmoil because of someone. You are seething with anger and sulking and the person is having a merry old time. Holding a grudge is a choice really and God has warned us against such behavior. In Ephesians 4:31, it says :“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you“. In other words, as difficult as it may be – LET IT GO!
3. Do not try to get back at the person. That is not our job! How does this fulfill “living peaceably with all men”? A Christian should NEVER take matters into his/her own hands. We are not God! His word is clear in Romans 12:17,19:“Repay no one evil for evil. Commend what is honest in the sight of all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to God’s wrath, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay,” says the Lord”. Stop playing God and leave it alone.
4. Continue doing good to/for that person. Yes, you read that right. We will not feel like it. We will hate it. But God commands it! And He says why. Proverbs 25:21 says:”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 upon his head, and the Lord will reward you.” In other words, our kindness and love will confuse him/her. At the same time, we must also remember that these very actions, as difficult as they may be, are the ones that will show our Christ-like nature; that will show Christ in us. And God has promised to reward us for obeying Him in this regard.
5. Take the matter to God. This should be the first thing that the Christian does. Remember, nothing is too small or too trivial for God. That is why He is there. The Bible says in Philippians 4:6-7:“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus“. When we take it to God, He will give us the grace to endure. He will give us the grace to do the four things (among others) mentioned above. He will give us the grace to continue shining for Him in the midst of enormous pressure.
There are those who will say that we are living in a fool’s paradise to deal with a situation like this in this manner. But like Paul, the question we must ask ourselves is this: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?” Like him, our conclusion should be “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Be blessed today!