Have you ever put any thought into who that might be? I hadn’t, until now.

You know, I’ve said the first part of that title so many times over the years that it’s almost become a habit…something I say without giving it another thought.  I’ve been battling the flu since December 30th.  The coughing got worse the first week of January while I was dealing with my mother’s recent passing, but the cough was it…no other symptoms.  Until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago it crept in and made its home in my body…and wiped me clean out.  This past month has really been a time to say “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”  And when I said that aloud the other day, my mind started thinking of who that might be.  Old bosses.  Former school classmates who tortured me.  Coworkers who just grate on my last nerve.  No, I wouldn’t consider any of them enemies.  An enemy…Satan is an enemy.  He’s my enemy:

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

So if Satan is my enemy, he’s got to be my worst one right?  I mean, I can’t imagine anyone being a worse enemy than Satan.  Can you?  He is, after all, the father of liars:

“You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.” – John 8:44

So if Satan is our enemy…indeed our worst enemy…would I be in the right to wish upon him this sickness that I just said I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy?  I mean, when I said it aloud, I was thinking more about my worst earthly enemy…not really a spiritual enemy.  Either way, we’re called to love our enemies, right?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48

So as followers of Christ, we’re called to love our enemies.  I get that.  Easier said than done, but I get it.  I’m not the best at this, but I try.  I try to turn the other cheek…I’m human so I don’t always get this one right, but I try.  I’m a work in progress…as long as God is keeping breath in my lungs and life in my body, He has not finished making me into who He needs me to be in eternity.  So I’ll be honest…I’m not quite there on the whole “love your enemy” thing yet.

But I certainly don’t walk around wishing ill will on my enemies all day either…Mostly.  Yes…the occasional thought does cross my mind as someone cuts me off in traffic, or someone at work is making life difficult for no other reason than because they can.  I am human after all.  But with the help of the Holy Spirit and the grace and mercy found in Christ, I’m able to push it aside and move toward forgiveness…and love.  After all, we’re called to “hate the sin, not the sinner”, right?

“Love must be without hypocrisy.  Detest evil; cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9 (i.e. “hate the sin”)

“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” – Romans 5:8 (i.e. “not the sinner”…because if Christ loved me in my sin enough to die for me anyway, who am I to not love someone else because of their sin?)

Which brings me right back to where I started…am I called to love Satan?  We’re taught in Isaiah 14:12-15 that Satan is one of God’s fallen angels.  So he’s an angel who sins.  But by the very nature of who he is, he’s not just an angel who sins…he IS sin (re: John 8:44 above).

So which is it…if we hate the sin but love the sinner, where does that leave us with our relationship with Satan?  Should I hate what he does (sin) and yet love him?  Or since he IS sin, is it okay to hate not only what he does (sin), but also hate him?  What do you think?  Is it okay to wish this illness on my worst enemy, or not?

Love,

Dad

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