Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
When the LORD takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Proverbs 16:7, NIV
One rendering of this verse, from “Pulpit Commentary,” reads: “Experience proves that nothing succeeds like success. Where a man is prosperous and things go well with him, even ill-wishers are content to…dissemble their dislike, and to live at peace with him.”
This Scripture passage cites only one manifestation, however, of the results of the out working of the life of Christ in a believer, a life that as he or she follows the guidance of the “owner’s manual,” aka the Bible, he/she will prosper not only spiritually but in other ways as well.
There is another manifestation, another kind of prospering, that, by contrast, results in the exposure of the enemy as still–an enemy. That is the kind of Christ-like out working that “speaks truth in love” which is not always accepted or recognized as loving and does not always result in acceptance from the hearer or observer, let alone peace. It may even result in misinterpretation, rage, and/or violence.
The believer might be confused by this, or begin to doubt not only his or her motives but the very Word of God, itself, by forgetting that God is equal–and perfect–parts love and justice.
There is much else in the Scriptures about the nature of good and evil that warns us against wolves in sheep’s clothing and the wiles of our arch-enemy, Satan himself, who can appear as “an angel of light” and fool multitudes.
In short, appearances–and “peaceful responses”–might not always mean the “enemy” has had a true heart change or that he or she is a true friend with whom one is equally yoked as a believer.
In short, we can’t let our discernment guard down.
We must continue to seek wisdom on when to speak and when not to and when to confront and when not to.
And when to pray to know the difference–which is always.
We can appreciate the peace of our friend/enemy, or in today’s lingo, “frenemy,” for its short or long-lived presence, but there is only One in Whom we can truly place our trust for good.
Image from Wikicommons.