Thank You, My Dear Enemy

2663311366_29e17341c8Dear Enemy,

I’m writing to thank you for your evil words the other day. I know you didn’t mean to, but you have done me so much good!

I have been cursed before (who hasn’t?), but this might be the first time I’ve been cursed for the way I try to serve God and you. This is a regular occurrence for my brothers in less-Christianized parts of the world, but you have helped me understand a little bit of what they go through.

I know you call yourself a Christian, so that last bit might surprise you a little. Since you are a professing Christian though, I do wish you hadn’t cursed me (well, denounced me, anyway) to a man that – for all you know – might not be a Christian. That sort of thing brings reproach upon our “common” faith.

Of course, you may not believe that we hold a common faith. I assume as much, since you did call upon God to judge me (I appreciate your expressed wish that he have mercy on my soul!). Unfortunately – well, fortunately for me – God has already judged me and declared me righteous. I say that because Christ took my punishment on the cross, and his sinlessness was imputed to me. So, I guess he has had mercy on my soul!

And I pray he continues because I will certainly make mistakes. Amazingly, he’s called me to minister his grace to others as a Pastor in his church, a calling fraught with peril. One of those perils is those – like yourself – who feel that I have not done enough to serve them.

And that’s why I thank you. I thank you because you have taught me that I simply cannot please everyone! And though you have spread the word about my inability, it’s something I need to learn – over and over again.

See, there are times when I think I can do everything. I forget that I am finite; I forget that I am not the Messiah, sent to save everyone from their problems. I know that may sound presumptuous, but apparently it’s a widespread belief, shared by plenty of those whom I and my brother Pastors try to serve. But you have helped me to realize my mistake. So, thank you!

I’ve got to learn to rely upon Christ alone, and I need to show those under my care how to do the same. Woe unto all of us if we place an unbiblical burden upon those human instruments of God’s grace! We already stand accountable to God for our personal works in this life, as well as the way we have taught and guarded the Lord’s flock. That’s a tall order, and we simply do not have the energy or time to try to please everyone. In fact, sometimes, as you’ve reminded me, when we try to please the Lord we will fail to please someone else. And if we try to please everyone, we’ll still undoubtedly fail to please someone, the Lord included. So, because of you, I’m going to refocus my energies on simply seeking to please the Lord alone.

Thank you! I’m pretty sure you didn’t mean for your words to have a positive effect – that’s why I’ve called you an “enemy.” I’m pretty sure you meant to hurt me. Well, you succeeded. A little bit, anyway. But the end result is, I hope, that I will draw closer to the Lord, serve him better, and be a bigger blessing to his people. And that’s a good thing!

So once again, let me say it: Thank you! May God get the glory in all of this, and in his grace, may he richly bless you. (I mean that!)

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