Monday, June 5, 2017

Who Is My Enemy?

 (submitted by Kerry Patton)
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

According to Wikipedia, Arthashastra is a Sanskrit treatise on statecraft dating back to around the 4th century B.C.  In Book VI, “The Source of Sovereign States”, an Indian teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist, and royal advisor known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta writes:
“The king who is situated anywhere immediately on the circumference of the conqueror’s territory is termed the enemy.
The king who is likewise situated close to the enemy, but separated from the conqueror only by the enemy, is termed the friend (of the conqueror).”
Today, this concept of political and military cooperation is more simply translated as: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Conflict Within Marriage
“Who is my enemy?” Have you ever felt like your spouse was the enemy?  Pretend with me for a moment.  You and your spouse are in conflict.  Perhaps it is a conflict that has been going on for some time.  It isn’t going away.  In fact, unresolved, it seems to be getting worse.  Understanding has left the conversation.  Bitterness and vindictiveness are the prevailing wind of your encounters.  You have come to feel more and more like…your spouse is your enemy.   Love seems alien to your interaction with your spouse.  Love making may seem like a distant memory.  He or she may seem belligerent, hypercritical, stubborn, frustrating, irritating, and…well, just plain mean! 
So the battle lines are drawn and the conflict ensues.  Injuries sustained accumulate and may be counted as “heavy losses” in the war of words and actions.  In far too many cases, the perception is that the only way to end the war is to divide the country (family) and never be united again.  Again, it seems in your mind, your husband is your enemy…or your wife is your enemy.  But listen to me.  Can you hear my heart?  I need to tell you a truth.  There is a third player in this conflict!  Ephesians 6:12 cries out across the battlefield with wisdom:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We have an adversary who is warring against us!  Even worse, our adversary, Satan, is using weapons that perhaps we aren’t aware of that are causing us to war against each other!! 
“Great.  You mean I actually have TWO enemies??”
 No, it only SEEMS like you have two enemies.  You have your true enemy -Satan, and then you have your spouse, who is perhaps behaving like your enemy. 
Listen to me… If you want this battle to end, then you need to become enlightened to the truth of Ephesians 6:12.  Meditate on this passage.  Either it is true, or it is a lie.  If it is a lie, then the whole of scripture becomes suspect and our faith is false.  But… If it is NOT false; if Ephesians 6:12 is not a lie, but it is true, then we…every one of us…need to take it to heart.  YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT YOUR ENEMY!!!  It may be that you and your spouse may have been treating each other like enemies; His or her actions may have seemed very much like they have been attacking you.  But you need to realize who the real enemy is.  Take a page from Book VI of Arthashastra.  You and your spouse need to figure out that the enemy (your spouse) of your enemy (Satan) is your friend. 
You and your husband, or you and your wife have a common enemy, and you both need to get on the same team!  Recognize that Satan is out to destroy the both of you.  He is out to destroy your marriage…and your family!  It only SEEMS like your mate is your enemy when you are in conflict.  No, Satan is your enemy.  Satan is your spouse’s enemy.  The enemy (your spouse) of your enemy (Satan) is your friend. 
I pray you can master this knowledge.  I pray you can come to understand that you have an adversary who is whispering destruction into your ear, and into your heart…pitting you against your spouse…pitting your spouse against you by whispering in his or her ears.  Once you and your spouse realize that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, and you and your spouse form a united front against the true enemy, then the battle is over.  Yes, you may have some wrinkles to iron out.  Wounds will take time to heal, and trust may need to be rebuilt.  There may be skills that you will need to learn in communication (and perhaps some methods that need to be forgotten as well!). 
Study and incorporate new methods of understanding and relating into your relationship with your spouse.  Become UNITED once again.  You can do this.  I say again: The battle is OVER…once you become united with your spouse, your friend…against your common enemy, the devil.


Almighty God, we pray that you bring peace to the battlefield of marriages.  We both recognize and rebuke Satan from having any place in our holy covenant with our spouse.  Unify our hearts again.  Join our spirits in faith to resist the lies of the enemy.  To the honor and glory of your name, we pray…amen.

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