“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
– Matthew 5:43-48 ESV
Let me tell you, loving your enemies is not easy at all. Before I got the help that I needed in Celebrate Recovery, loving my enemies was not even something that was ever considered. But after my first year, I decided to do something risky, but worth it. Without any details whatsoever, I started praying for my enemies by name. I can tell you from experience that it has made a difference in my life. To top it off, my list went down, as a result, some of them have become incredible friends and siblings in Christ.
Now, where do smiles come in? Well at the beginning of my third year of Celebrate Recovery, I ran into someone. She was a friend of the woman from High School in my testimony. Now, I don’t know why but even before the incident with her friend, she didn’t seem to like me at all. This happened at the grocery store that I used to work for. I had to do my sweep rounds when this happened. As always, I had to follow my route, which meant I had to pass by her while sweeping. One thing employees who work in retail know is that no matter what an obnoxious jerk your customer may be, always give them service with a smile. (just FYI, I stole that line from Buster Bunny from Steven Spielberg’s Tiny Toons). So, when I passed by her, I said with a smile “Find everything so far, Ma’am?” She looked at me and all of a sudden cracked a smile and nodded. I said in response, “Awesome!” (Laughs) She couldn’t keep a straight face.
Now, I’m not saying you should smile at someone you resent sarcastically. I am saying that whenever you encounter someone who doesn’t like you that you consider seeing that person from God’s perspective and ask him to help you love them the way that he does.
If you want an example of someone who needed God’s help in forgiving someone, look at the life of Corrie Ten Boom. When she shared her story with several people, someone who was one of the guards in the concentration camps during WWII came up to her to ask for her forgiveness. Can you imagine how hard that was for Corrie? She needed God’s help. She got it. God helped her forgive that man.
I want to encourage you to show some compassion for someone who has hurt you or doesn’t even like you. I would also encourage you to pray for them as well. I can assure you, it really can make a difference, not only in someone else’s life but in your own life as well.