A few years back there was a song entitled “Know Your Enemy” by the rock band Green Day. The chorus of the song had the question “Do you know your enemy?” It’s a pretty good question to ask. “Do you know your enemy?”
Unfortunately, it seems in this day and age it’s easy to identify enemies and yet not identify the real enemy. On one end of the spectrum, if someone doesn’t agree with popular opinion with culture, or if someone doesn’t fall in line with “tolerance” or political correctness then that person is the enemy. On the other end of the spectrum, if someone doesn’t fall in line with views of legalism and all that entails, then that person is the enemy.
Both sides are very contentious and it is very easy to fall into either camp. However, there is another side. And it goes back to knowing who the enemy is. Granted, this tension is nothing new though it may seem as harsh as ever. Back in the 1st Century, there was this struggle of picking sides and warring against each other. The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church about some of this. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul said “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The enemy is not the person who disagrees with you. It is not the sinful person (because remember, you and I have a sinful nature too). The enemy is Satan, the devil and those that follow Him.
It’s easy to look at the person across from you and make them to be the enemy, especially if they say hateful things or do hateful things. But they are not the enemy, the real enemy, Satan, is the one who tries to make others out to be the enemy. For followers of Jesus, we’re called to show grace and mercy to those around us. This is regardless of whether they show grace and mercy and return. And if anything has shown us, is that there are times when grace and mercy is met with harshness. But that doesn’t mean we quit loving and being merciful and graceful. Jesus never quit showing that to us and if we’re to be followers of Him, we need to persevere in doing the same.
So, do you know your enemy?