Wouldn’t it be great to have no enemies? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone liked and admired you? Is it even possible to have no enemies? As Ramon Narvaez, a Spanish General in the 1800s, was dying a priest gave him his last rights. He asked him if he had forgiven his enemies. His reply was, I have no enemies. The priest questioned him, Are you sure you have no enemies? He answered, Yes, I shot them all. Hmmm! It’s a thought, get rid of your enemies by shooting them. It is tempting!!!
Another man was celebrating his 104th birthday. A reporter was interviewing him and asked what he was most proud of having lived such a long life. The man said, Well, here I am, 104 and I don’t have a single enemy in the world. The reporter said, That’s quite remarkable. How did you do it? With a grin he said, I outlived them all!
Well, as I write this I must say I do not have a single enemy. I have many enemies! I wish I could say everyone adored me. Though I don’t count anyone as my enemy, I realizes some adore me less than others! It is always interesting to see polls of how presidents and other political leaders are doing. None of them ever have a 100% approval record. Having a 50%-60% approval rate is often considered good. Though we want to be well-liked it is impossible to live in such a way that we are 100% loved by everyone.
At times, however, you hear people say things like, He was a saint! He didn’t have an enemy in the world! Everyone liked him! In the Bible I think of Barnabas as the person that best fit that description. How did he do it? How was he a friend to everyone? Barnabas was not even his real name. His real name was Joseph. But we remember him as Barnabas, a name given to him by the apostles. Barnabas means, son of encouragement. Barnabas was the great encourager. He built others up. He was that positive, energized person who made other people better.
I think the best way to have no enemies is not to kill them… not to outlive them… but be an encourager.