James tells us it is the essence of Christian love to care for the orphans and the widows, the poor in spirit and the impoverished in heart, the sick in soul, and the discouraged (1:27). This is an all-year exhortation, and yet, it’s not difficult to see how now, during the season of warm fuzzy Christmas commercials and reminders of what used to be, when there are not the same number of gifts under the tree, or when the traditional experiences are missing a participant, that the orphans and widows among us need care. Now is when the ache is most pronounced, when the holes seem to echo.
No good can come from calling fellow believers enemies. These are people we fellowship with at the table of the Lord, meet with in corporate worship, lay our burdens down together before the throne. To determine that they are enemies when God Himself has declared them His friends at the expense of the blood of His Son is to pronounce that relationships operate on your rules and terms, regardless of what God has done. And because it’s possible that those you suspect are behaving badly are not believers, it’s still not grounds for alienation if all they’ve done is give the appearances of enmity. They are without the spiritual tools needed to do conflict well. Witness to them of the greatest work of reconciliation done in all of history and rightly inform them they are enemies to God—as you once were—and that they can be bought and washed and made new—as you are now.