“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer” (Matthew 5:43-45, MSG).
Every morning, I make some time to open up Scripture and soak in some wisdom. Typically, I’ll pull a verse or two from the passage I’m reading and post on Facebook and Twitter. Recently, I posted the particular passage above from Matthew 5, and it seemed to resonate with several friends and followers in a different way than most. In particular, a certain friend wrote me a message pertaining to that post. In his message, my friend wrote:
“I read your Scripture post from Matthew 5:43-45 the other day. I realize what it says. But sometimes it’s hard to forget what people have done to you in the past. I also realize that Satan comes against us in this way. Any suggestions on how to overcome this? I know prayer is always good.”
I think most of us can relate to my friend’s response. We’ve all been hurt at some point, likely by someone we hold in high esteem. And though forgiving can be easy, forgetting is the harder part. So how do we overcome this?
In attempt to answer that question, let’s think about it in terms of wounds and scars. Those “hurts” in our lives are like scars. At one time, that scar was an open wound. In time (and with the help of a healing aid), the wound healed. However, the scar remains. We can choose to let that scar be a bitter reminder of the past wound or hurt. Or we can ultimately view the scar as a reminder of the healing that took place, only through the aid of our Healer.
In leadership (and in life), there will be hurt. There will be wounds. There will enemies who inflict these hurts and wounds. Ultimately, there may even be scars. But our response should reflect the wisdom found in those passages from Matthew…
1. Love your enemies.
2. Let them bring out the best in you.
3. Respond with prayer for them.
I’m not sure that we’ll ever “forget” the particular hurt caused by someone in our past. But the path to overcoming the hurt involves continuing to pray (unselfishly) for those who hurt us, trusting that God will give us a new compassion and love for them.
The greatest leaders aren’t vengeful. Rather, they let their enemies bring out the best in them.
How do overcome the hurt from your past wounds?
What do you see when you look at the scars in your life?