Warren Stanton

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

If one ponders on this verse, I do not believe that Jesus is asking you to love our enemies to the same extent as those we hold most dear. Loving our enemies may be more than love of the heart, but includes a “will” to do so.

I do believe that a person is permitted to have enemies. However, it has been said; “The best way to lose an enemy is to make them a friend. “This transition is possible if we demonstrate love and concern toward our enemy. I truly believe that kindness begets kindness and love begets love. A natural response to love is to love in return.

There was a time in school that I had to deal with bully that was older than I. He went by J.R. because of his aggressive nature, he had a hard time getting along with young and old. Several factors contributed to his behavior. He was a member of a poor family; big for his age; his Dad was in the penitentiary.

I made up my mind to be nice to J.R. All people needs friends. Although I didn’t spend a great amount of time with J.R. I wanted him to know that I cared for him. I personally believe that friendships cannot always be evaluated by the amount of time spent together, but by times of friendly encouragement.

As in the case of J.R., friendship development may take some time. Being nice to your enemy may not make them your friend today, but it can happen on a tomorrow. In the meantime always consider an enemy as a “real” person and a potential friend.

Friendships may span a lifetime, or he designed for a season. My friendship with J.R. was cut short when he was killed by a car accident his junior year of high school. Since money wasn’t available for normal burial. My Dad and I dug his grave with a pick and shovel and covered the casket by shoveling in the dirt. Rocky soil made the endeavor somewhat difficult, but its easier and more rewarding (personally). When we do good for a friend rather than an enemy.

Although as a young person, God blessed me with many friends that encouraged and strengthened me. He also directed me and revealed ways to help me work through differences with others. I also believe that the compensation for growing older is spiritual sensitivity, and the need for more friends.

May each one of us, as Christians, work to transform our enemies into friends. (Make scars into stars). Yes, some friends are closer than others. Have I stated before that my wife is my “best” friend. My advice regarding acquiring friends is as follows: (1) How to make a friend - invite them to be one; (2) How to be a friend - listen to them and let them know their feelings matter.