January 9, 2021
By Brian Petty
The Avengers and Thanos, Bateman and Joker, Harry Potter and Voldemort and finally Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. These are all common and well-known superhero/enemy combos that Hollywood have produced throughout the years. Television has defined these villains as antagonists who come from afar to force their adverse will against anyone who stands in their way. While that is true, it is not the complete picture of who an enemy is. Even more, this is not a good illustration of what a foe may look in our real life. Often an enemy is close to you, someone who nags you or finds a way to drag you down. It may even be a family member who takes shots at you for not meeting their expectations. Even more, the Bible explains an enemy is someone who comes to steal our joy, peace and self-worth. This definition and notion of what an enemy may look like is a more accurate representation of our reality rather than the sci-fi definition of television.
A year ago, I graduated from college and it was a moment that I will never forget. I got to share this moment with my mom but minutes later as we were leaving and getting into the car she said, “So no graduation cords?” And ouch! That struck a chord in my heart. Moreover, a month later, I celebrated the end of my 10-month internship with my church. What should’ve been a night of celebration and joy turned to be a night of disappointment and hurt because my family did not show up. It was difficult faking being fine and masking my hurt throughout the night and the moment I got home, I poured out my pain in tears.
I try my best to turn to the Bible whenever I am in a hard place. By the grace of God I did and landed on the following verse, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28, NIV). This verse reminded me of the statement, “The actions you make today affect the choices you have tomorrow.” That is E+R=O. An Event (E) + your Response (R) = Outcome (O). You cannot change the “Event”; however, you can change your “Response” to the event, which then changes the “Outcome”.
The situation with my mom at my college graduation and at the intern celebration did hurt me. But I kept E+R=O in mind and did something that I never thought I would do. I prayed for my family, for forgiveness, for an outpouring of blessings over their lives, and for the goodness in their life to surpass mine. Was it easy? No! I knew I couldn’t change the event, but I could control my response and the outcome was more than what I ever expected. I experienced peace and the weight I once felt was lifted. The best way to love our enemies is to pray over them—to forgive and bless them. Let’s put an end to “Forgive and Forget” and change it to “Forgive and Bless”.