Jesus taught us: “Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.” [Luke 6:27+ The Message]. There’s an energy that rises when we are poked, prodded, or provoked; we all recognize that force that erupts from within our flesh. Sometimes we aren’t successful in keeping it under the lid.
Jesus continues: “Respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If they slap you in the face, stand there and take it. If they grab your shirt, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If they take unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
I was 13 years old. A girl in my circle of church friends had broken up with her boyfriend six months before this particular day that I had just returned from summer camp. I’d given my life to the Lord Jesus and was a brand-new believer. My dearest friend/pastor’s daughter had taken me shopping for the first time at the Christian bookstore. While we were browsing, this girl from church entered the store. She demanded of me: “Step outside!”
Shocked by her rage, and bewildered as to the reason why, I went out in the parking lot with her. She began to rant and rave about the fact that her ‘prior’ boyfriend had invited me to a movie [group event]. It seemed that, if she couldn’t have him, no one else was going to. No doubt my dear friend was back inside the store praying for me.
Grace beyond anything I had ever experienced in my life took over my emotions. My mouth remained shut [a sign and a wonder]. His peace flooded my soul. And, as I listened, I realized that I felt sorry for her. This was nothing short of the grace of God because I know that the energy inside me wanted to be spent otherwise!
After she released all her fury and frustration, she said to me… “And you know what else makes me so mad?” I shrugged. She said, “You never get mad back at me!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
The Spirit of God whispered to me: “You won!”