When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them. Proverbs 16:7 (NLT)
We are all unique and different from others in many ways. Those differences are what make us attractive to some and irritating to others. It is challenging not to rub somebody the wrong way as you go through life. In spite of our best efforts, people can choose to become our enemies. They oppose us because our differences are not compatible with their unique perspectives or assignments in life.
The realities of difference and the inevitability of conflict create vexing challenges as we look for peace with others. It is very hard to be at peace with yourself when someone is not at peace with you.
Our scripture today brings a gift of hope to us. It promises that our enemies can be brought into a place of peace with us. I believe that, with the Lord’s help, we can obtain favor even with our enemies. The wise writer made it clear that the first step towards peace with your enemies is to live a life that pleases the Lord.
Elsewhere, a psalmist sings:
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 (NLT)
How do we delight in and please the Lord? We please and satisfy the Lord by studying the Bible every day, learning the principles of living like Him:
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction. Psalm 1 (NLT)
Do you see the positive results of studying God’s will and living accordingly? You will prosper in everything you do! More than that, even if someone feels jealous of the blessings of God in your life, God will cause them to change their minds about you:
When the LORD takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Proverbs 16:7 (NIV)
This translation sounds a little different from our original text. It suggests that God causes the adversarial person to look with favor on you because of God’s intervention. You may think it impossible to change the hearts of your adversaries, but never underestimate God’s ability to shape human opinions about you! God can even turn a king’s heart towards you if He wills:
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1 (NASB)
When you please God, you can experience peace with your enemies! Focus on pleasing God, and it may very well result in surprising harmony with your new friends… your previous enemies.
- Has your uniqueness caused a rift between you and others? Have the blessings of God stirred up jealousy and strife? If so, know that you are not alone. However, remember that the Lord can help you with your enemies.
- Jesus calls us to love and pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). If you study God’s will, you will bump into this scripture, and you will be overwhelmed by the difficulty of doing what it requires. However, choose to delight yourself in the Lord and endeavor to forgive and forget. Pray for your adversaries and bless them. You’ll be glad you did!
- Expect the Lord to give you favor with your enemies. Expect peace in spite of what divides you. Remember, it is our differences that create diversity and beauty around us. Celebrate the differences and learn from the uniqueness God created in each one of us. Delight yourself in the Lord, and expect favor from others.
Excerpted from The Art of Peace: 21 Days To A More Peaceful You by Iann Schonken: