Saturday, November 19, 2011


I don’t like having enemies but, then, most other people don’t either. Thankfully, throughout my life I have had relatively few I can identify.

In leadership, I recognize, there may be more potential for inviting enemies into one’s life. When we lead, we occasionally, make decisions unpopular to those who follow.

When faced with enemies we want them to go away or “come over to our side.” On our most “human” days we may even wish they would experience a “challenge” or two!

In Chapter 11 of Eugene Peterson’s book, THE PASTOR, he directs us to ponder the contrast found in Psalm 108. The first half is filled with an expression of confidence in the God whose “glory shines over all the earth.”

The second half questions if God will really rescue the people from their enemies, specifically Edom: “Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies? Oh, please help us against our enemies, for human help is useless. With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes. (Psalm 108:13, New Living Translation).

Peterson comments on this passage by saying he had to learn how to “re-frame” the Edoms in his life: “Edom is not the enemy that I curse or shake mu fist at or avoid or dismiss. Edom is the enemy whom I, with God’s grace and help, am led to visit and embrace.” (p. 78)

He further answers, “So what do I do with Edom? I ask God to bring me to Edom. And God does. Over and over and over again. The person, the task, the threat, the frustration, the circumstance to which my first impulse is to curse – ‘damn Edomites!’ – becomes, through the patient praying of Psalm 108, an occasion for recycling my swords into plowshares.” (p. 79)

Who or what are my Edoms? What about you? Am I really ready to embrace them?

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