Our Dread Enemies

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;

preserve my life from the dread enemy. – Psalm 64:1 (NRSV)

I grew up in a political family in Virginia and spent a lot of time in my early years traveling to new places and meeting new people, mostly grown-ups. When a child was available, I was both excited to have a playmate and very much aware that I needed to be agreeable.

Once we met the grandchild of an enthusiastic supporter, a girl my age. She had fashionable (for 1966) cat-eye glasses. After my father won the election, and we moved to Washington, D.C., she became my classmate, and we were invited to each other’s homes. On a fateful day, when I arrived home and my mother asked whether I had a nice time, I burst into tears and sobbed, “She’s my worst emeny.”

When we came across each other on social media about ten years ago, I accepted a friend request and followed back on Twitter, interested to what she was like, the cause of our falling out forgotten. Although the psalmist assures us God will shoot an arrow at our enemies, I had grown up enough to forgive a child’s social transgressions and felt no lingering resentment.

Until while writing this devotion, I clicked on her Facebook profile and discovered she has since unfriended me.

Even now, she is not an enemy, of course, but I remember what the problem was. She did not want to play with me.


Holy Jesus, what a friend we have in you! Thank you for connection and friendship in all its forms. Shield us from harm and give us a strong spirit when faced with rejection. (No need to harm my childhood “emeny.”) Amen. 

About the Author
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, Executive Director of RevGalBlogPals, and the co-author of Denial is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith).