When Your Enemy Becomes Your Friend

This past week I had the best face to face conversation I have ever had with one of my best friends. This person who is now one of my dearest friends used to be my enemy. Or, if the truth be known, I saw this person as my enemy when in fact God had given me the opportunity to have a very special friend. I wonder how often those we see as our enemies are truly our opportunities to have great friends. Is it possible that our flesh, our pride, our fear, our hatred, our rebellion, our jealousy, and a host of other sins hold us back from seeing the possibilities when God places people in our lives? I cannot speak for you, but I can speak for myself. Some of the people I love the most today are those with whom I have had the greatest challenges in the past. Some of these people never wanted to speak to me again. Some of them ran. Some of them watched me run and never want to speak to them again. Today these people are some of my greatest blessings. What made the difference?

1. Jesus Christ
2. Love
3. Forgiveness
4. Willingness
5. Obedience
6. Thanksgiving 
I just got off the telephone with one of the greatest friends I have ever had. It wasn’t so long ago that I had terminated our friendship, or so I thought. I was so offended by a choice she had made that my flesh could not stand the idea of continuing our friendship. I had judged her so harshly that I closed the door on our friendship and walked away. I held onto the offense for dear life, and declared to myself that I was done. Through. Finished. Never again.
But God had a different plan. He certainly could not work on my heart. Why? I would not allow Him to change my mind. But He worked on my friend’s heart. So while I stewed, and fretted, and continued in my mental strife, my friend pursued the Lord. She prayed. And prayed. And she obeyed. When the Lord called her to reach out to me, after a long and grueling separation, she tossed her flesh aside and contacted me. Imagine how my flesh responded. Ugh. Yuck. No way. I still held the offense. Bitterness is dangerous. It not only hurt me. I had bitterness toward her, toward another loved one, toward myself, toward people from my past, and who did I not have bitterness toward? God decided He would not tolerate my stubbornness, so He took a hold of my heart.
Much to my chagrin, much to my amazement, my spirit rose up against my flesh and told it to get under subjection. My spirit responded to God and my friend and agreed to meet with her. I will never forget the day I took a walk with her. I had not seen her in so long. I wrapped my arms around my heart and held on for dear life. Now I had fear. I did not want to be hurt. I did not want take any risk. So while my spirit prevailed by meeting with my friend, my flesh moaned and groaned and stayed determined to keep the focus off me and make sure I did not take one single step in the direction of a restored friendship.
To this day, I cannot honestly say what happened. I can only say it was supernatural. No human, not even my friend, could have gotten through the hardness on my heart I held toward her. But God could. And God did. 
And a few years later now, she is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received from the Lord. We have one of the strongest, most honest, most beautiful, healthy, and Godly relationships I have ever had with a human. We laugh, we cry, we share, we pray, and we stay closely in touch despite my move to a different part of the country.
How can this be? Jesus Christ. Love. Forgiveness. Willingness. Obedience. And now? Thanksgiving. Through Jesus Christ, through His love and forgiveness, through the love and forgiveness He has given us through faith in Him, through our willingness to follow Him, and through our obedience, His love has the ultimate victory. I now have some of the dearest friends I have ever had. Some I once considered my enemy. But now I see the Lord’s majesty – and thank Him for my sweet, sweet friends. 
Father, I pray that you would continue to change me so I become more like you. I pray you will continue to forgive me for when I fall short. I pray you will continue to help me and the rest of the world to come to faith in Jesus Christ, to love, to forgive, to be willing, to obey, and to express our thanksgiving to you. Thank you God for our relationship and for all the other relationships in my life. Where there is separation, anger, strife, hurt, bitterness, etc., please bring healing. Please reconcile this world to you. Please reconcile us to one another. Please help us to love one another as you have called us to do. Thank you Jesus for being my best friend. Thank you for all the other friends you have given me. Where I believe I have enemies, please help me to love them as friends. Please help me not to miss my opportunities to put aside my flesh and walk in the Spirit. Lord, please help our world to love like you. And may you use this writing to touch lives, open hearts, and transform us as we learn to love you, to trust you, and to follow you. Amen. 

John 13:34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
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