by Christopher Harbin

What About Enemies?
Christopher B. Harbin
Nehemiah 6:5-16

Opposition is a normal part of our existence. Our dreams, desires, choices, ambitions, and projects at one point or another conflict with the purposes of others, and opposition arises. Opposition arises because our actions, words, or attitudes are not in accord with some around us. It is a normal part of our existence. The natural response is for us to categorize one another into classes of friends and enemies, mainly to determine those who seem to support or undermine our efforts and purposes. The question then is what to do with those we consider enemies. How do we respond to them?

Nehemiah was surrounded by a vocal opposition. In this time of national elections it might not seem strange at all that any project might invite vocal opposition. In many ways, the vocal opposition is the worst opposition we face, for it is designed to make us believe that all are opposed to what we are attempting to accomplish, even if it is only a handful of people who simply speak loudly in an attempt to shift our attention and purposes to fall in line with their own.

The opposition Nehemiah faced had been busy throughout the wall-building project and before. It did not arise out of the dark, in unexpected fashion. They had been present and visible even before Nehemiah began to gather the people and announce his vision for the rebuilding of Jerusalem by putting its protective wall back into place.

Before the project began, Nehemiah knew that opposition existed. When we are honest about it, we know there will always be some opposition to anything new. There are always those voices who find security in life as it is, in the known quantity. They are afraid of any change and will rally the troops to keep any kind of change from happening. Beyond that knowledge, however, Nehemiah was aware that there were others who were profiting from Jerusalem's state of affairs. If the wall were to be rebuilt, it would place their ...

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