When people’s lives please the LORD,
even their enemies are at peace with them.— Proverbs 16:7 NLT
How do we make peace with our enemies?
Whether our enemies are nations fighting a global war, our finances, or a co-worker, we all have “enemies” in some form. We can either try to physically eliminate the threat or try to befriend and appease our adversaries. But Solomon offers us a radical approach in Proverbs, and it’s one we ought to consider. Solomon wrote: “When the LORD takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.”
You want things to be right between you and your enemy? Get right with God!
Take the Jews from the book of Esther, for example. At the beginning of the story we are told that King Xerxes held a huge feast. According to Jewish tradition, this was a tragedy from the very start because King Xerxes used the vessels he plundered from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Then he invited the Jews so that they might abandon their traditions and become like any other Persian.
By using their holy vessels, the king was trying to convey the message that he was now their high priest and his palace was now their Temple. Tradition teaches that Mordecai told the Jews not to go to the feast. But they went anyway. They were OK with the idea of assimilating into the new lifestyle and their new country.
But the attempts of the Jews to leave behind what made them different and try to blend in only brought about the works of Haman. It has been said that when Jews forget who they are, God sends an enemy to remind them. The plan to assimilate backfired badly.
Yet, once the Jews did sincere soul-searching and repented of their sins, everything turned around. Even King Xerxes, who was no friend to the Jews at first, came to their assistance, virtually saving the Jews from annihilation and punishing their greatest enemy — Haman.
While on the surface, it might seem the most logical to make peace with our enemies is by pleasing them and trying to win them over, Solomon taught us the powerful lesson that it’s not necessarily the way to go. Instead, we need to please God and win over His favor.
We should never sacrifice our values to make someone else like us. We must never remain silent when we should speak out against evil for fear of what others might think of us. Instead, we must hold on to who we are and what we stand for. We must be the light to the nations that God calls us to be. We must not be afraid to shine the light of truth and morality wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
When we fear God more than we fear people, we will bring peace to all areas of our lives.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President