The rain falls on my enemies and neighbors

We’ve been getting lots of rain lately. I don’t read a weather almanac, or keep a journal to compare years, but it seems like I remember getting excessive rain most every April. Maybe it’s just late this year. My grandma always mentioned the Farmer’s Almanac and in my child brain I thought of it like some sort of horoscope or divination. Come to find out it has weather predictions and planting dates based on tabular data and tide tables…

My grandfather’s livelihood depended on frost forecasts and planting dates. I’m not as connected to the land as God intended, but I know we need the rain. I still understand it as a good thing, even though our house is a low point on the street and we are constantly peeking to see if the storm drain is receiving our neighborhood’s collective runoff. I’ve been reading in Matthew lately and it says in chapter 5, vs 45 that God sends the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/truthseeker08-2411480/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2701644">truthseeker08</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2701644">Pixabay</a>

And this weekend the rain fell on our whole street, our whole city. It struck me that even if we’ve decided who belongs in the group of just and who is unjust–it doesn’t mean they will always be there. After all, I was once (intentionally) far away from God.

I thought, how gracious God is to send the rain to everyone, even his enemies. At first, I assumed it was because they might not remain his enemy. Then I realized even if they do remain his enemy, the rain still feeds the rivers through our storm drain.

Man(kind) thinks that there are only two sides (just and unjust) and so if someone is not for you they are against you. Everyone “else” is the unjust enemy against you. This might be a play on Jesus’ statement that if someone is not against us, they are for us. But, there are more than two sides to earthly battles and I’ve written before that God is on both and neither.

The justified the unjustified, the not yet justified…

So I’ve been wrestling with the word “enemy” this week. The one we now call enemy might become our brother/sister. Perhaps that is one reason why we are not supposed to resit an evil person, but give more than is demanded, and pray for our enemies.

I struggled with the word because I am not living on a street where there is war. It’s miserable and wrong to have neighbors you fear or who fear you. I’m lucky because I’m particularly fond of my neighbors. I also struggled because I am happy to pray for enemies but I plan on resisting evil intentions against me.

At first I wondered if a Christian should call anyone enemy, but then I remembered the verse about how we should be more shrewd than we are. There are evil enemies out there, and I know we should judge the fruit we see in other’s lives. However, there’s a difference between shrewd discerning of your place and entanglement with someone and passing judgement over their life.

There is only one lawgiver and judge, so who are we to judge a neighbor?

Or an enemy.

2 thoughts on “The rain falls on my enemies and neighbors

  1. Angela says:

    That is a line that is easy to cross unknowingly. Maybe sometimes intentionally. I know we are called to shrewdness but sometimes shrewdness bleeds into fear in my heart. Thank you for bringing these topics up to think about. It’s like chewing on inexpensive cuts of meat. The more you chew, the more flavor goes down and slowly the sinews break down and nourishment is delivered. Weird analogy, I know.

  2. Eric Smith says:

    Thank you for reminding me that “rain” is a blessing, even in the Bible. I LOVE the rain… living in a low rain area, but think I’ve only heard this passage preached on from a negative “rain (= tough times) falls on the just and unjust alike.” Good shift for me to remember God desires blessings (rain and sun) on us all.

Thanks for joining the discussion!