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As a Christian, you will always have enemies — and that’s okay! This post explains 7 reasons why you don’t need to worry about your enemies.
Enemy is a harsh and strong word. Most people don’t just go around giving that title to any random person.
Think about it.
There are people you don’t like, maybe people you don’t get along with, and even people you compete against… but are they your enemies?
The word enemy is usually saved for a ‘special’ kind of person and relationship.
According to dictionary.com an enemy is “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.”
So it isn’t just someone you don’t get along with. There’s hatred involved and intentional actions to harm or sabotage another person.
But even with this definition of an enemy, there are some misconceptions about enemies we need to clarify to understand the concept better.
Misconceptions About Enemies
Two common misconceptions about enemies are that they have to be familiar to you, and that the feelings of hatred need to be mutual.
Let’s talk about why each of these beliefs are false.
Misconception #1: Your enemies will be familiar to you
Sadly, you don’t need to know someone for them to hate you.
It’s just not a requirement.
You may know some of your enemies (because they are openly against you), but there are some people who’ll be against you even though you have never even seen or interacted with them in your life.
Think of celebrities, public figures and world leaders who seem to have ‘haters’ across the globe that they don’t even know.
But despite the fact that people can hate you without you knowing them. People can also hate you without them knowing you.
Our human minds tend to think of people in groups rather than individuals. We think of men and women, Canadians and Italians, rich and poor, and assign characteristics to these groups — whether true or false.
These groups are often more complex than just gender, nationality or wealth.
Often, we group people based on what we assume they have or do (the way they act, their achievements, wealth, personality, preferences, job, relationships, beliefs) and even based on things they have no control over (race, looks, voice, etc.).
While this tendency isn’t very harmful all on its own, some people hate others simply because they fall into a particular group.
Think of racism and discrimination for example.
It sounds a little scary but it’s the sad and real truth — you don’t need to know someone for them to be your enemy.
Misconception #2: Hatred needs to be mutual
This is an interesting one.
Many people are of the belief that if someone is their enemy then they should also be that person’s enemy too — but this is absolutely false.
To understand why, let’s jump back to the official definition of the word enemy:
“a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another….”
Note that the definition doesn’t say: “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another person who does the same thing to them…“
Of course, there are many cases where enemies are mutual (like in some cases of war), but an enemy can also be a one-sided thing (like in many cases of crime or racism).
Our first point confirms that this is true:
Because you don’t necessarily know everyone who hates you and is against you, it’s impossible that you could also have those feelings towards them (because you don’t even know who they are).
Do you have enemies?
So you know now that enemies don’t have to be people you know and that you don’t need to hate someone in order for them to hate you. With this information, answer this question:
Do I have enemies?
Here are some possible answers you may have:
- No! I’m the kind of person everyone seems to like and get along well with. (Yay me!)
- Probably… I get a bad vibe from some people.
- I’m generally well liked but I am aware that there are people who seem to dislike me for some reason.
- Yes. I have a lot of enemies, everywhere I go.
Your answer might change depending on where you are. Maybe you’re number 1 at home and number 2 at work — but you’ll fall into at least one of those categories.
But, regardless of whether people seem to like you or not, if you’re a Christian, the answer to the question is a big bold YES.
Enemies of Christians: Who are they?
The first and most obvious enemy of a Christian is the devil. 1 Peter 5:8 says this very plainly:
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
The devil wants nothing good for us, regardless of how it may seem. He comes only to destroy and he will be our enemy until the great day when God destroys him once and for all.
Another group of enemies to Christians are other human beings.
But, of course – not everyone is an enemy. For example, someone who does not share our beliefs isn’t automatically our enemy. Rather, it’s the people who are against us (remember the definition?) and the people who seek to persecute us and harm us.
Our first enemy, the devil, doesn’t work alone. He very often uses our fellow human beings to frighten us, and in an attempt to stop God’s work.
So we see, Christians are not free from enemies. Some would say that yet another one of our enemies is ourselves, but that’s a topic for another time. For now, I want to focus on our human enemies who exist all over the world.
Maybe you’re wondering…
Aren’t Christians supposed to be friends with everyone? Aren’t we supposed to love others so much that they couldn’t help but like us? Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Well, remember what we talked about earlier? Enemies don’t have to be familiar and they don’t need to be mutual. Let’s talk about both these points again, this time from a Christian’s point-of-view.
Enemies of Christians don’t have to be familiar
Here’s a quick recap.
A common misconception is that someone needs to know you personally to be your enemy. The truth is that people don’t need to know you well or even know you at all to hate you.
When we first spoke about this a few paragraphs ago, I mentioned that people may hate you for just about any reason they can think of — including your beliefs. I also mentioned that people tend to think of others in groups.
From this we can conclude: if someone hates Christians then they’ll hate you, regardless of how ‘different’ you are.
So it doesn’t matter how kind you are, how good of a student or employee you are or how many good qualities you think you have — don’t be shocked
if when people hate you, ridicule you, or even persecute you, simply because you are a Christian.
But this should be no secret to us.
In Matthew 10:22, Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t expect to be loved by everyone. Rather, we should expect the opposite:
“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
And again in 1 John 3:13, John says:
“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.”
Note the use of the words ‘everyone’ and ‘the world’ in those verses. They could have easily been replaced with ‘friends’ or ‘coworkers’ or even ‘your family’.
But the words used are much more general.
Considering the fact that we don’t personally know everyone in the world, we can say that these verses confirm that as Christians, many of our enemies won’t be familiar to us.
Enemies of a Christian should never be mutual.
A few paragraphs ago, we spoke about the fact that hatred between people does not need to be mutual. Someone may hate you, but that doesn’t mean you need to hate them back, particularly as a Christian.
The Bible talks often of us having enemies, but not being enemies. The difference here is really important to us Christians.
To put it simply: to be an enemy is to feel hatred for, foster harmful designs against or engage in antagonistic activities against another person.
To have an enemy is to have someone who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against you.
Again, note that the definition of an enemy is not:
“a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another person who does the same thing to them…“
This proves that having an enemy can very much be a one-sided thing.
So, particularly as a Christian, there is no person that you should:
- feel hatred for
- foster harmful designs against,
- engage in antagonistic activities against, or
- be an adversary or opponent to, regardless of the way they feel about you or treat you.
Even David talks about his experience with this in Psalms 109: 1 – 31:
“In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. …”
Of course, it can be tough to not at least want to get back at those who get at us. We want to hurt them like they hurt us… but our example should always be Christ.
Jesus had many enemies yet He was an enemy to no one. Rather, he loved and died for his enemies (which includes you and me).
“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” – Romans 5:10 NIV
So yes, as Christians, we are called to love others — but don’t think that that means they’ll always love you back.
And that’s okay. We’ll talk about why next.
Why you shouldn’t worry about having enemies
So, it’s established. Christians will always have enemies — but that shouldn’t be something to worry about.
But I know it’s easier to know you shouldn’t worry compared to actually not worrying. It is hard, and I know that because I struggle with worrying too.
My hope is that these tips, along with prayer, can help both of us to start thinking of our enemies a little differently — because they’ll always be around.
Below are 7 good reasons we shouldn’t worry about any of our enemies (including the devil):
1. God is on our side
One of the most important reasons we don’t need to worry about our enemies is because we have God on our side.
Really, that’s all there is to say. God is all powerful and there is nothing He can’t do. When the all-powerful God is on our team, we can surely defeat the enemy.
God sees the way you’ve been treated by your enemies, and he hears what they say about you, both openly and in private. He knows those persons who are seeking to sabotage you and ruin your reputation. God hears their hateful thoughts. He knows all their schemes and plots.
God observes it all and you can be sure of this: He doesn’t like it. And if God doesn’t like it, there’s nothing you need to do but wait on Him.
The Bible tells us over and over that God is a god of justice and He will deal with those who have wronged us:
The Lord is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth. – Psalms 94:1
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19
…say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” – Isaiah 35:4 NIV
Jeremiah was one of the many people who believed God would handle his enemies. Check out what he says about it in Jeremiah 20:11-13:
But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten. Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause.
Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.
We don’t need to worry about our enemies or how to deal with them, because God has already promised to handle them in His perfect timing. Like Jeremiah, we can commit Him to our cause because He will never fail.
2. Our enemies cannot stop God’s blessings
Sometimes, it seems like the distress we face because of our enemies is the obstacle preventing us from achieving our goals and the wall blocking God from answering our prayers.
For example, if your boss is your enemy, how could you possibly get that promotion you’ve been hoping for?
Or if your enemies are your school mates, could you ever have that friendship you’ve been longing for?
When our enemies seem to have control over what we want or need, it can seem as though we are trapped. That’s probably why many people want so badly to get rid of our enemies, rather than try to cope with them.
We believe that once our enemies are out of the way, then our lives can start to be what we want it to be.
That sounds like it makes perfect sense, but does it?
I mean, we already know we can’t possibly get rid of all our adversaries … as Christians we will always have enemies, remember?
So what do we do? If we can’t get rid of them, does that mean we can never start living the way we want to?
Thank God, the answer is no!
In Psalms 23, David praises God that He prepares a table before Him, ‘in the presence of his enemies‘. The passage goes on to say that God anoints David’s head with oil and causes his cup to overflow. David even says: ‘surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…’
In other words, God blesses David abundantly.
But note that the verse does not say anything like: ‘you get rid of my enemies so you can bless me.’
So, another reason we don’t need to worry about getting rid of our enemies is because they cannot stop the abundant blessings God has in store for us.
3. God will protect us
Another reason we don’t need to worry about our enemies or what they can do to us is because God will protect us.
Some enemies use their attitude to get at us, some use their words, some use their influence. Others may be more physical, threatening to hurt or attack us.
Any one of these methods can have harmful and even painful consequences. But regardless of the tactics they threaten to use, we can be confident that God will protect us.
Here’s what the Bible says:
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. – Psalms 37:1-2 (NIV)
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial. – Psalms 37:32-33 (NIV)
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. – 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 (NIV)
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. – Psalms 37:39-40 (NIV)
These are only a few — the Bible is full of these reassuring verses.
One of my favorites to say when I am afraid comes again from Psalms 23. In verse 4 it says:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalms 23:4 (NKJV)
God is with us even in the scariest and darkest places and He always will protect us.
Does God always protect His people?
Now, I know what you might be thinking.
Haven’t thousands of Christians been persecuted? And don’t good people die unjustly at the hands of their enemies all the time? So does God really always protect His people?
I’ve thought the same thing. Some people face such cruel experiences that it can be hard to think that God was there like He said He would be.
But the answer is still yes, absolutely. God always protects His people and we know that because He said so and He doesn’t lie (Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 6:18).
Like I mentioned in this post, life on Earth can seem like the most important thing to us so when someone dies, it seems like it’s over for them. It seems like God has forgotten them and to those of us who are left behind this can make it even sadder to think about.
But, to God, death here on Earth is not the end. His plan for our lives extends beyond the grave!
Yes, enemies may kill some good people, but God was with them and He did protect them — He protected their souls.
Here’s what Jesus says in Matthew 10:28:
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
This verse says that your enemies may try to take your life, but they cannot take your soul which is more valuable. In addition, we know as Christians that there will be a time when all those who have died in Christ will live again, for all eternity.
As morbid as it sounds, death on Earth is much better than eternal death.
So, whenever you next feel worried about your enemies, say confidently:
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalms 91:2 (NIV)
4. We were never promised peace on Earth
The Christian life is about loving others but we weren’t ever promised that they would love us back.
As we saw earlier, that’s exactly what the Bible tells us in Matthew 10:22 and 1 John 3:13.
The Christian life is also about peace.
- We are told we need to be peace-makers (1 Corinthians 7:15, 2 Corinthians 13:11).
- We are assured inner peace through Christ (Philippians 4:7, Colossians 3:15) .
- And we should be at peace with God (Romans 5:1).
But that being said, we weren’t promised peace in or from this world. Here’s what Jesus says:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34 (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NIV)
From these verses, we see that we shouldn’t worry about having enemies or trouble. Instead, we should expect them. We can face trouble in this bravely, knowing Jesus has already overcome the world.
5. Our goal is eternal life
Yet another reason we need not worry about our enemies is because our goal is eternal life.
Many times we focus on the life we live now and we want it to be perfect and happy and wonderful — which is totally normal!!
But like the singer Jim Reeves says: this world is not our home, we’re just passing through!
This is soo important to remember when thinking about enemies.
If this world isn’t our final home (and we’re promised something much better), we don’t need to worry when people try to make this life any worse than it already is.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but it’s definitely worth thinking about.
Here’s an analogy I came up with. Feel free to imagine it as it best suits you!
Imagine you have to eat lunch at work/ school everyday from a cafeteria, but there are people (your enemies), who make you take the back of the line and leave only a few burnt crumbs for you. Really mean, right?
Now, imagine that at home, you have a wonderful, world-class personal chef who can cook you whatever you like at any time. None of your enemies know about it, of course — it’s your special secret.
When your enemies leave you with crumbs… How much will you worry?
You can almost laugh, knowing that there’s something sooo much better waiting for you at home.
That’s how we can think about life here on Earth with enemies. Again, I know it is easier said than done, but verses like Revelation 21:4 help to give us hope:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Yes, we’ll have enemies and sorrow and tribulations here on Earth, but we can look forward to a time of eternal peace with Christ in heaven.
6. Hatred is for those who are in darkness
A different aspect of worrying about enemies is the struggle to not to feel some resentment towards them.
It can be HARD.
When someone is an enemy to you, all you want to do sometimes is treat them like they treat you — or worse. But we know this isn’t for Christians.
So, another reason you shouldn’t worry about your enemies (or how much you want to hate them too) is because the Bible tells us not to. We addressed this a bit when we understood that enemies don’t have to be mutual.
Here are some Bible verses that support this:
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. – 1 John 2:9-11 (NIV)
Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. -1 Peter 4:15-16
Again, we should not feel any hatred towards other people, regardless of how they may treat us. Hatred is for those in darkness but we are called to be children of light. We are called to love our enemies despite how hard it may be.
7. God tells us not to worry
The final reason we don’t need to worry about our enemies is simply because we don’t need to worry at all.
Jesus says in Luke 12:22:
“…Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
Here, we see that God provides even for the birds — and we are considered much more valuable than they are!
God has promised to take care of us in all things so we don’t need to worry about tomorrow, our finances, our meals, our clothes and definitely not about our enemies.
But not only should we not worry but worry really does nothing for us!
Here’s what Jesus says in Luke 12:25-26:
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
We already know that God will avenge us, protect us and bless us despite our enemies. On top of that, if God has told us not to worry and worrying is useless… then why worry?
As Christians we will always have enemies whether we like it or not. In this post, you’ll understand why you will always have enemies, regardless of how kind, cool or friendly you are.
I know this can be a downer to some, so you’ll also learn 7 really good reasons why having enemies isn’t something you should worry about at all.
As always, if you learn from this post, consider sharing it with someone else so they can benefit too!