We give out some ‘challenges’ at the spring training day; each one designed to build up a particular aspect of Christian character or faith. This is what happened when Ben took up his challenge:
My challenge was the one about loving your enemies. So far I’ve only identified 3 people who have done something to ‘hurt’ me, and only found a way to love two of those. What I’ve found so far is that is it probably the must humbling thing you can ever do.
When I read the challenge I assumed that after doing it each time I would feel somewhat “bigger”, more successful; I would have the moral high ground etc. But I have actually found the opposite is true – it makes you feel so so small, it is giving up all you possibly could.
The act of turning the other cheek isn’t ending the argument, it’s losing it.
Each time I do it I feel so small and so insignificant. There is also no guarantee that doing it will fix the relationship you used to have with somebody – there is one person who I still don’t talk to any more when I walk past them in school.
But there are three reasons I have to see this challenge through to the end: Firstly, for the first time in a long time I actually feel at peace. I can be near the person and not have my blood boil with hatred. it’s only now that I have realised that hating people uses up so much energy, and now I’m free and I can put it to better use. The second reason I have is that despite how it makes me feel, and what consequences it has, it isn’t down to me to do it or not, it is what the Father wants of me and that is reason enough in itself. Because it is what he wants, that is also the third reason I have to continue; it brings me closer to him, it opens up more room for the Holy Spirit to fill me, and although it is in no way a comparison to what Jesus did for all of us, it does parallel his self-sacrifice, which in its own small way makes me feel closer to him, giving me a more vivid understanding of how much he really did do, although I doubt I will ever truly appreciate it as much as I should.
So thanks so much for giving me the challenge, it really is a turning point for my walk of faith.