Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” reflects his understanding that the command to “love your neighbor” occurred as the positive contrast to the commands not to bear a grudge or take vengeance against those in our community who were seriously annoying, those close to us who were opposing or undermining our efforts to contribute to the community’s success. Though the term ‘frenemy’ is recent, the concept is ancient. We encounter them not only in our communities, but also in our teams at work or school and our families—sometimes we are that person. These encounters test our patience and our faith. To fine tune our faith in these situations, so that we pass the tests, we need to consider God’s willingness and ability to work for our deliverance, as well as the benefits he promises to us if we’ll be good team members.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for countrymen to dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1
When God finished creating and looked at everything he had made, he saw that the entire creation was just the way he intended it to be. Each part functioned by itself, and as an integral part of the whole. He didn’t need to add anything or to do anything more. So he described his work as “exceedingly good.” Effective, long-term cooperation that leads to mission accomplishment deserves a similar compliment. If we will truly become a unit, we will know this goodness. We will also know the irresistible pleasantness of unity. A pile of flour, a stick of butter, measures of sugar and salt, a cracked egg, and a bag of cocoa bits can sit on the table all day without making anyone’s stomach growl or mouth water. Eating a spoonful of flour, followed by some butter, a pinch of sugar and salt, plus a mouthful of cocoa powder and egg will make us gag. Unity is crucial. So when we combine all these ingredients in the right amounts and heat them correctly, the chocolate chip cookies we pull out of the oven emanate both goodness and pleasure. Is it worth the expense necessary to bring these ingredients together? Is it worth the effort it takes to make these ingredients “dwell together in unity”? Behold! Take a look for yourself; then UNITE!
Creator God, mix us, blend us, shape us, and bake us so we will bless many, and so they will be attracted to the ONE who makes us one.
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