Love Your Enemies

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Everybody in the store could see what a marvelous change had come upon young B. He was evidently a different man. Formerly, he was first in evil ways and rough speech; now, all was changed. Not only he no longer joined in the lightness of his companions, but he would reprove them, at the same time confessing with simplicity, that, by grace, he had been saved through believing in Jesus, and urged upon them the necessity of being born again. From that time, all his fellow-workmen turned against him, and with one mind, tried by all possible means to provoke him to anger, and to prove that he had not changed.
One evening, when he was about to go to a prayer meeting, his hat was not in its accustomed place. It had been hidden. Without saying a word, he went quietly to the meeting bare headed.
Another time, it was his coat that was missing. But this did not stop him, and as he had no time to go home for another, he went in his shirt sleeves.
But something worse was yet to come. On a hot summer day, one of the apprentices placed a piece of tar in B’s hat. Without noticing it, the latter who was late, put on his hat hurriedly and ran home for dinner. The heat had melted the tar, and when B. took off his hat, he found that it had adhered strongly to his forehead. The effort he made to pull it away, tore off the skin leaving a very painful wound.
B.’s father, at the sight, became very angry and threatened to complain. “O, father!” answered the young man, “You have been the Lord’s so many years. I am surprised to hear you speak so!”
His mother wept to see her son so exposed to the malice of his companions, but B. answered her by the words of the Apostle, “Christ, when He was reviled, reviled not again, when He suffered, He threatened not” (1 Peter 2:2323Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (1 Peter 2:23)).
On his return to the store, his companions surrounded him. “What has happened to you? Who has done that?”
“God knows all about it,” he answered; “and I know what I shall do to the culprit!” A short while after, the guilty apprentice came to him, and said, “What will you do to the one who has played you this trick? O, B! I am sorry, but please do not tell the master, he would dismiss me. You know, I am an orphan, what should I do?”
After a moment’s silence B. answered, “Now, my boy, I am going to tell you what I will do.”
“What?” anxiously inquired the boy.
“I will forgive you.”
That is the way this young Christian sought to walk in the foot steps of his Lord, remembering that after having been reviled, mocked, scourged, and finally crucified, He said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:3434Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34)). He knew that his divine Master had taught His own how to act toward those who ill treat them, “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:4444But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:44)).
But how can we become conformed to Jesus? By looking to Him, by having our thoughts and our hearts occupied with Him. We see this in Stephen, the first martyr. While ill treated, and stoned, he saw Jesus at the right hand of God, and in the spirit of his Lord, he could pray for his murderers, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
Dear young Christians, think upon Him, be occupied with Him, and the Holy Spirit will enable you, in all your ways to walk, even as He walked” (1 John 2:66He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1 John 2:6)).