There is an old saying that adversaries do not make us weak or strong, but they reveal what we are—our responses to negativity and outright attack are, therefore, learning opportunities; if we wish to learn more about ourselves as a platform for learning more about God.
People may think there are no enemies but in times of war. This is not true; anyone we have an adversarial relationship/rapport with is an enemy/adversary. These people we are more or less in constant conflict with are there, strangely enough, for our benefit—and for theirs, also, if they wish to partake in the exercise of self-learning.
We benefit more from the adversary than we do from relating with our wistfully easy friends; for with an adversary we’re gaining constant feedback about both our instinctual and considered responses to the problems of life.
Viewing Adversaries In A Different Way
This thought doesn’t come naturally, and it may never do—but the more we consciously think on this the more it will profit us and keep us from harm.
The thought is this: If I appreciate I still have much to learn about myself I can love my adversary because they will show me more about my real self than anyone or anything else.
Our rapport with adversaries will create within us discomfort and the temptation of fight-or-flight. This discomfort and fight-or-flight experience is nothing, really, about the adversary at all; it’s about us, and about how God has wired us. It’s a vital fact to find, and to know, and to accept. Who would we be, in being clay, to criticise the Potter?
We are who we are—much of this we cannot, and should not want to, change.
Better Self-Knowledge Is Better God-Knowledge
This is our ultimate goal: to know God. A constant barrier regarding the knowledge of God, and the enjoyment of his Presence, are the many conscious distractions we must deal with. The more we can cause these distractions to be less distractive, the more we will enjoy God.
The case in point: if our adversaries are less of a threat to us, we have more usable conscious-thinking space to muse on God in our moments—any and all of them. Additionally, when our adversaries are no longer problematic, because we appreciate their true purpose in refining us, we can thank God more often. When our adversaries cannot defeat us and are there for our betterment we are the victors.
Adversaries and relationships with conflict reveal the real us; the portion of the person God wants us to know and accept. It’s not God’s will for us to run from this truth.
We love our adversaries for the value they bring to our lives in meaningful reflection; for what they show us about ourselves—our responses and reactions. It is truth too good to pass up.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.