Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
We're told to love our enemies (Luke 6:35), but how can we love someone who is difficult, and unpleasant to be around? Maybe a better way to ask the question is, How can we learn to like such a person? Or does God expect us to?
We don't want empty pretense. Acting nice to someone's face when deep inside you dislike the person isn't being like Jesus.
A good example is Mary Magdalene--possessed by "seven devils" (Mark 16:9). We know that Jesus understood the secret irritant that she had experienced. Therefore He knew that her being mean and bitter was not what she really wanted to be deep down. In fact, she had lost control and was actually saying and doing things that she herself detested. That's what it means to be "possessed." The devil--no, seven devils--had made her a captive.
You probably would have a hard time finding anyone more difficult to be near than Mary Magdalene. When Jesus met her, He understood that someone had treated her unfairly, had driven her to desperation, and had overwhelmed her with the temptation to be resentful, which she could not handle. Jesus actually put Himself in her place (that's what He has done for each of us). In fact, when He had been baptized by John the Baptist He truly took our guilt upon Himself, took the experience of repentance in our behalf.
In this simple process of becoming one of us, Jesus found the key to unlock Mary's prison door. And in so doing He transformed her into a lovable person! Maybe that's a key we need to discover.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 24, 2003.
Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."