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 sons 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 brothers, 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]
Love your Enemies
Rocco and Butch were the worst bullies in school. Every day they wandered the halls and everybody tried to stay out of their way. Sometimes they beat up the boys but more often, they pulled girl’s hair or teased them until they cried. Nobody knew what to do about Rocco and Butch so everyone just learned to stay away from them but if they did catch you, you should cry right away because that made them happy and they would go to the next person to bully.
One day a new girl started school in the fifth grade. Her name was Holly and the rumor went around fast that she was the daughter of the new Pastor at the Methodist church which was the biggest church in town. Cindy and Holly became friends right away and Cindy knew she had to warn Holly about the bullies pretty fast but it was too late. As Cindy turned the corner in the halls to her locker, she saw Rocco and Butch beginning to bully Holly. They were teasing her and laughing but Holly didn’t cry. “Cry Holly, cry.” Cindy whispered under her breath hoping Holly would get the message but she didn’t.
The bell rang and soon the halls were filled with kids and everyone was running out to the bus or to get picked up by their parents in the pick up line so Cindy didn’t get a chance to find out what happened. But the next day she ran up to Holly as soon as she saw her. “Holly, I saw you talked to Rocco and Butch. I wanted to warn you about them. They are really mean bullies. So be careful.”
Holly just smiled a big happy smile and said “Ok Cindy. Don’t worry.”
Rocco saw Holly at her locker before Butch did. “Hey Butch, there’s that new girl.” He commented.
“Something is different about her.” Butch said. But they walked toward her in their usual scary walk that usually made kids run away. “Hey it’s the preacher’s kid. I bet the preacher’s kid is the worst kid of all. That’s what they say about preacher’s children you know.” Butch taunted her. That’s when Holly did something so unexpected that both bullies just froze in place not knowing what to say.
“Oh hi Butch. Hi Rocco. I was hoping to see you today.” And she gave them the biggest smile either of them had ever seen. Her smile was so pretty and full of friendship and love that they were paralyzed. “Oh, I saw you had a snickers bar in your pocket yesterday Rocco.” She continued. “We have a bunch of those so I asked mommy if I could bring you some and she said yes and she said you sounded like super nice boys and you can come over to play video games at our church youth night this weekend if you want to.”
Then Holly put a candy bar in each boys hand and hugged them both and ran off to class singing a happy song and skipping.
“What just happened?” Rocky said finally, when he could speak again. Butch didn’t know but he liked it. Then when they recovered their senses, they saw what seemed to be the whole school staring at what just happened and how a little blond girl caused the meanest bullies in the school to stop in their places and she hugged them and skipped away singing.
The next day was more amazing yet. Instead of wandering the halls, pushing people’s books out of their hands and pushing girls down, Rocco and Butch went straight to Holly. And instead of those mean smirking ugly smiles that meant they were going to hurt her, they glowed as she talked to them. Cindy watched in the amazement as Holly talked to them for several minutes during the lunch hour and at the end she hugged them again and the two bullies went outside and didn’t bully any people for the rest of the day. That day was Friday, so everyone was so curious about what was going to happen on Monday.
Monday was so amazing it was almost impossible for the kids and even the teachers to believe. Rocco and Butch showed up in regular clothes, not bully clothes and they were smiling and even seemed a little shy. But when they saw Holly, they ran to her and hugged her. Cindy saw this and thought she even saw Butch cry a little bit. The bell rang and they went to class. After class, she finally got a chance to talk to Holly.
“What did you do to Rocco and Butch, Holly?’ She asked eagerly.
“I loved them.” Holly answered happily. “They are really very sweet. I will introduce you to them at lunch. Rocco is way funny.” She giggled.
“You loved them?” Cindy said in amazement. “But they are bullies.” She objected.
“The Bible says to love your enemies and you know what amazing thing happens when you love your enemies Cindy?”
“They stop being enemies and then you don’t have enemies any more. That’s what my daddy taught me and what he preaches every Sunday and he does that because that is what Jesus taught.” Holly continued. “I invited Rocco and Butch to church and youth group and Sunday night they accepted Jesus and they are going to join our youth group and instead of using their talents to hurt people, they are going to learn to go on missions trips next summer.”
And just as Holly said, Rocco and Butch not only stopped being bullies, they became the most popular boys in school. In fact, no bullies could do anything in Cindy’s school because Rocco and Butch knew all the bullies and wouldn’t let them hurt people and started sharing Jesus with them.
“How did you have the courage to love them, Holly?” Cindy said with awe.
“It doesn’t take courage Cindy.” Holly answered. “Its what Jesus wants us all to do so if you obey him and share his love with others, they will follow Jesus too and before long, everybody will love God and serve him. Wouldn’t that be so cool?”
And Cindy had to admit. She saw it work with Rocco and Butch so what Jesus taught about loving enemies proved to be a truly miraculous teaching that Holly showed everybody how to live out at their school that year.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. [1 Corinthians 13:1-3]
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