Love your enemy

I’ve been a manager for some time now, over 10 years, and during that career I have regrettably had to fire 3 people during this time.  Most recently, I ran into one of them at a function and try as I might to have been nice to her, she clearly resents me.  I’m sure that it would make her day if I too had something bad happen to me.  I wonder how she would feel if I got promoted?

I share her feelings of someone in the workplace that I too dislike.  I briefly worked for a company that determined success by how many people liked you, not how you performed; constructive feedback, no matter how well framed and accurate, was not good if that person was well liked.  Add to it a very close nit group that would bad mouth those doing well and I failed.  I knew I wasn’t wanted, so I ran for it, and thanks be to God, I found a better job.  I hold resentment towards my manager and if honest, I want him to fail but I’ve been praying for him.

My prayer for my former boss is simple, I leave it up to God.  I can’t pray my boss is successful because I don’t think God determines success as one being promoted.  The prayer is one of smooth sailing and if it gets rocky, that those challenges help him grow to know God better.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?”  Mat 5:43-46

First, there is not a commandment in the Old Testament that you should hate your enemy, just that at the time, most believed that it was ok to hate your enemy.  Think about it, if someone came to you during Jesus’ time and said, ‘boy I sure hate those Romans who keep taking our money and making salves of us,’ your response would be, well, yeah, me too.

Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies.  That is really hard.  Of course, justice always gets served, after all, we all live on this broken world and none can avoid the final judgement, of which is determined by the Father alone.

If there is a murder on trial, it is ok to want that person to be convicted and serve his life in prison.  During that time, we should pray that the person repents and turn towards God.

God loves me.  I fired someone who hates me and probably considers me her enemy.  Thank God I’m loved.  I know I’m loved and I know I’ve done wrong.  I don’t deserve God’s love.  It would be wrong for me to think that God can overlook my faults and love me but not others.  To that end, I know God loves my former boss as well.  We have a God that doesn’t discriminate His love of us sinners and His mercy is endless and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks be to God.

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