Between the years 1861-1865 the United States found itself in the midst of a bitter civil war over the issue of slavery, and several other serious disagreements. By the time the North won the war nearly 620,000 soldiers had perished. There were many in the North who were so embittered that the South had dragged them into such a deadly conflict that they wanted the South to pay dearly.
At the end of the war, a group of Southerners gained an audience with President Abraham Lincoln. His gentle, kind and friendly personality quickly softened the hearts of his once-hardened foes and the Southerners left the interview with a deep respect for the man who had been their bitter enemy. Not long afterward, a northern congressman criticized Lincoln for "befriending the enemy!" He suggested that he should have had them shot for being traitors instead of welcoming them!
I love Lincoln's response. He said, simply , "Am I not destroying my enemies by making them my friends?"
If you're serving the Lord –- you can expect your share of enemies. Don't let a root of bitterness grow up because of them –- but rather, seek to win them over with gentleness, kindness, and even love. Show your enemies the Lord's grace and His peace through your Spirit-controlled response...and in so doing, you'll "heap coals" upon their heads! Satan wants to provoke you through their hatred and opposition. Don't let him! Instead, shock your enemies –- not with angry retaliation...but with Spirit empowered LOVE! Win them over; with so much work to be done, we need all the help we can get. (George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah)