Loving the Porcupine
When we read the scripture about loving our enemy, we might envision a deranged lunatic out to kill us. But in actuality our enemy is usually a person close to us: a boss or co-worker, a parent, an in-law, a son or daughter, a student, a friend or a spouse. This person may have consistently hurt us, or she may have hurt us only briefly. This person may have felt remorse for what she has done, or she may not have acknowledged it.
These people are porcupines because whenever we get close to them, we get hurt. Enemies come in every shade and hue, and it is impossible to understand their actions. But it is possible, however, to understand our actions. We are not accountable for any person’s behaviors besides our own. When God says to love your enemy, He wants us to love the co-worker who constantly belittles. He wants us to love that teenager who always disobeys. He wants us to love that parent who repeatedly condemns. He wants us to love that spouse who has given up.
God wants us to love with a heart that is always searching for the good in people. He wants us to love the porcupines in our lives, although loving them is never easy. Many times it’s easier to focus on their negative characteristics. It takes motivated determination to filter through the coal to find the diamonds. We need to learn from Jesus’ example, a sinless man who sacrificed His life for the love He has for humanity. So love the porcupines through Jesus Christ; and though they might not return the love, Jesus will in overflowing proportions.
“But I tell you: Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.”
– Matthew 5.44 (NIV)
“Lord, help me to love those who hurt me. I desire to be Christ-like and not give hatred in exchange for hatred. My hurtful actions are not justified by the hurts I have received. Specifically, assist me in showing love toward the people who I feel great animosity toward.”