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Definition of enemy

plural enemies

1: one that is antagonistic to another; especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent

2: something harmful or deadly ‘alcohol was his greatest enemy’

3a : a military adversary

b : a hostile unit or force

Jesus was once asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

I wonder what he would say if he was asked, today, “Who is my enemy?”

Would it be those who wish to do harm to others?

If that is true, am I the enemy?

Would it be those who disagree, hatefully and carelessly with others, politically and religiously?

If that is true, am I the enemy?

Would it be those who spread messages of hate, division, segregation, discrimination?

If that is true, am I the enemy?

Much has been said in the last few years about landing on the wrong side of history.

Whether it’s concerning the rights of the LGBTQ community. The rights of women. The rights of immigrants. The rights of races.

We all make conscious and unconscious decisions, every day, about where our loyalties begin and end.

More and more, I see where apathy and indifference, silence……these are simply not options anymore. Maybe once upon a time, but if you have children, if you have a conscience, if you have a heart, for God’s sake, these are not options.

Yes, it is exhausting. Mentally and emotionally, to take stands for what is right and good.

Yes, it can be disconcerting. Because you might have to make those stands alone.

And that, that is the point.

Because first, one has to come to terms with the enemy within. And most people, myself included, don’t take the time to do that. To examine our own hearts.

That “hostile unit or force” can often be our very selves. That “something harmful or deadly” can be the very attitudes of our minds, hearts, and actions (or lack thereof).

I try to refrain from too much political subject matter here on this blog. And it’s not because I lack passion, but because I lack the emotional and mental fortitude to withstand a constant discussion about such things with people who have no interest in examining what I have actually said, but only want to argue.

I have to be careful. Not because of them. But because of myself.

Because argue? Well, I’m a seasoned pro. I come from a long line of people who are right, opinionated, verbose, and unwilling to NOT have the last word.

And there is no victory in that kind of engagement. I’ve seen it. Because people are so unwilling to see themselves as the potential bad guy.

This is where my politics and religion settle: in which scenario am I the enemy? In which scenario are my behavior, actions, and attitudes unbecoming to one who claims to be a follower of Love Personified?

And more often than not, I fail. I am sensitive and passionate, which makes for a very difficult inner dialogue, especially when confronted with dissent. By those I care about. By those I know to be hateful people. By even strangers.

So the only thing I know to do for now, and regularly, is examine my own heart. Look for the enemy within. And engage it first. Because that enemy is the deadliest one of all.

Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.

Charles Spurgeon