Darth Vador, The Joker, Wile E. Coyote, Lex Luthor, The Wicked Witch of the West, and Magneto. What do all these names have in common? They are all someone’s “Nemesis”. A nemesis can be defined as “an opponent that cannot be easily beaten or overcome.” Another name for this person might be… an adversary, archenemy, backbiter, betrayer, or foe.
Do you have a Nemesis? I know it’s hard to believe, but I have had a few of these in my lifetime. Some how my life threatened them, trust was broken, and a friendship was lost. None of this was my intent, but was the end result due to their actions.
I remember one time I had a chance to tell my nemesis exactly what I thought of her. We served together in ministry. She was a part of a team of leaders we developed to help in our specific area of ministry. She seemed to have a servant’s heart, she was willing to help wherever needed, and was supportive of everything we did. Oh, how we were mistaken. I don’t know when the tides turned, but at some point her heart grew cold towards us. She began to stir up dissension, speak negatively about us to others, and tried to divide the very ministry we worked so hard to build together for God. My heart was broken. I was shocked, angry, and confused. Why? What did “I” or “WE” do to cause her to act in such a way? I was stunned.
Before the mess began, my husband and I had already felt God releasing us from this area of ministry and leading us to another. We attempted to make it as smooth as possible for everyone. We stuck it out until the dust settled not wanting to make a mad dash in the midst of chaos. We owed God and those we served better than that. On our last night with our leaders my husband determined we would say goodbye in a unique way. He didn’t tell me until it was too late for me to say no that we were going to do a foot washing Jesus-style.
He wanted us to wash each leader’s feet separately and tell them ALL of the things we have appreciated about them from our time together. It all sounded good until he said… “I will do the guys and you will do the gals.” What? SHE was here… you know what that means? I have to wash HER feet and say nice things to HER! I just don’t have anything nice to say! My husband reminded me that he felt this was something God wanted us to do, SO I said okay. But he could tell I was NOT happy.
We placed two chairs up front, played some worship music, and had the leaders’ line up in two lines (gals & guys) for the big event. As we got our wash cloth and bowls of water ready, my stomach began to churn. One by one we called them forward. Tears flowed as we shared words of love and encouragement with each one personally. “Thank you for loving the unlovable.” “Thank you for coming early and staying late to reach lost souls.” “Thank you for praying, giving, living your walk with God out before others, and supporting us 100%.” Thank you, thank you, thank you, and we love you.
The knots in my stomach multiplied as I looked across the room at HER. I chose everyone, BUT the one I dreaded most. I was saving HER for last. I prayed God would give me the words. I had MANY words I would have liked to say, but I needed the “right” words… “God’s words”. Lord help me! The more I shared with the other ladies how much I appreciated them, the more I realized SHE had done some things I appreciated. I just didn’t want to share them with her to her face. My heart was hurt. This was very humbling… to get on my knees, wash my enemy’s feet, and tell her how much I appreciated her. This was NOT my favorite time in ministry, but definitely a life-changing moment for me.
As I walked over to take her hand to guide her to the honored chair, God’s peace poured over me. I prayed God would help me see HER through His eyes. I felt His presence like no other helping me… guiding my tongue. Tears began to roll down my cheeks as I genuinely thanked her for serving beside us all of those years. My words were heart-felt, my expressions were genuine, and my face shined with joy as God showed up to strengthen me. I had NO REGRETS. I could have said A LOT of things, but I chose to allow my words to heal rather than to harm that day. I said what I needed to say and not what I wanted to say. Thank you Jesus!
In that humble moment, God got my attention. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him. SHE wasn’t truly my nemesis. Satan was the real enemy….provoking, stirring up trouble to divide and conquer. Two scriptures came to mind…
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (NIV)
"Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world." (NCV)
Satan is the greatest enemy of all. He is out to hurt us in every way… steal joy, kill dreams, and destroy relationships. If he can’t keep us from God, then he will attempt to poison the very soul God rescued with anger, bitterness, resentment, and un-forgiveness. He will use whatever means possible to make this happen… even people we know, trust, and love.
Do you have one? … A Nemesis? Maybe it’s time for you to set up an appointment with that person. Ask God to help you see him or her through His eyes. You might be surprised what may happen. Don’t worry… you will not be alone. God will be there to help you. It just might be a life-changing moment for you like it was for me. What have you got to lose, but those knots in your stomach?
Living to leave a legacy,