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In the Presence of My Enemies

In the Presence of My Enemies

Editor’s note: Psalm 23 has brought comfort to believers since it was first written, read, and sung. In The Book of Common Courage, Psalm 23 is divided line by line and shared with photography, poems, blessings, writings, and prayers for your encouragement. Enjoy this excerpt! 


When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give Me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to Him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can You ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) — John 4:7-9

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first throw a stone at her.”
— John 8:3-5, 6-7 NIV 

God of the Hated,
You who sought out
the scorned and the pained:
bless the parts of us
that others have blamed
as too blinded, brash,
and untamed;
because your two hands
of Goodness and Love
ever and always reach
toward the shamed.


A shepherd cursed me,
and church became
a source of trauma,
a reminder of pain.
Before I left the church
of my wounds, I stood
at the altar to serve holy food.

The last person to descend
the aisle was the man
who made my life hell.

My heart was pounding
in my chest. And with
one deep breath,
I was given a choice.
I could extend mercy to him.
The body of Christ
broken for me
was broken
for him too.

The blood of Christ
spilled for me
could cover
this pain too.

In that moment
we were balanced
at the foot of the cross.

It is still
the strange place
where curse meets blessing.

The Eucharist
didn’t rescue me
from the trauma
of being condemned
by a man called to bless.

did not save me
from loss and lament.
But it did give me
a sanctuary
I could carry
out the door.


Neutrality is the nicest kind of evil.

God prepared a table without two sides.

God gives us a feast while our enemies stand by.

Do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. — Matthew 10:26 NIV

Almighty God,
Even the darkness
is not dark to You.
Blow on the ember
of faith in our hearts,
for we are in need
of the oxygen of trust
that all the harm
that is done
in the dark
will one day become
mere ash and dust.
Consume it all in the fire
of a belonging that is better
than controlling one another.
This we pray
through Your Son,
Jesus Christ, who
was betrayed
by a friend
in the night
and put to death
by a government
in plain sight,
yet raised by the Spirit
into indestructible life.
And there He now sits
and reigns with You,
Three-in-One: Father,
Spirit, and Son, all
declaring to darkness:
the light has won.

Excerpted with permission from The Book of Common Courage by K. J. Ramsey, copyright Katie Joe Ramsay.

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Your Turn

What comes to your mind when you pause at “in the presence of my enemies”? Remember, that our Father is the God of the Hated. He sees your circumstances and He is in control. Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you about this portion of Psalm 23. ~ Devotionals Daily