Have you ever had an enemy? Maybe not even someone out to get you personally, just someone on the other side of a conflict or situation. Someone you have learned to hate or at least dislike. When their behaviors line up with your expectations, well, at least some things in life make sense. It’s the good guys against the bad guys.
Not that we like to admit it, enemies seem to be a part of life. But Jesus taught that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us for His name’s sake. How on earth are we supposed to love people like that?
For Annie Rawlings, the main character in Jack Cavanaugh’s novel Dear Enemy (Bethany House, 2005 and Oak Tara, 2009), she has every reason to hate the Germans. An army nurse during World War II, she’s experienced the horrors of war and heard about the atrocities of Nazis shooting the American wounded. The conflict gets even closer during the Battle of the Bulge as she watches her best friend die … then her husband … and she is captured by the German soldier who killed him.
Hatred simmers to a boiling point. However, over the next few days stumbling through the forest, Annie discovers that life isn’t so black and white. Some of the “good guys” do bad things and some of the “bad guys” show compassion. And beneath the skin of an enemy, there may lurk a friend … or more. (But will her friends and countrymen ever understand if she has a change of heart?)
What about you? Have you ever discovered common ground with an enemy? Did that change your relationship? How?