Posted by on February 18, 2013

MP900438805Nemesis has several meanings, but for the purpose of our word of the week category, I’m going with the following:

1. A source of harm or ruin; 2. An opponent who can not be beaten or overcome.

Besides that girl from the fourth grade who always beat me on tests, I’ve never really felt like I have someone in my life who’s a nemesis. I joke about it sometimes. Like that slow driver in front of me is my nemesis, or a certain person, who I shall not name, is my nemesis at a certain game (which I will also not name). But those people aren’t really my nemeses.

Sometimes I refer to my container cabinet as my nemesis. You know, those containers you put your leftovers in. I can never keep that cabinet straight. Lately, I’ve taken to opening the door quickly, tossing in the clean container, and hoping for the best. That works, unless I have company and forget to put on the super-speed and everything crashes out.

When I read the definition for nemesis, it stopped me. I was all ready to write about people we don’t get along with or who have done us wrong, but a nemesis is much worse than that. A nemesis is someone who can’t be overcome, a source of harm or ruin. It’s that “someone who can’t be overcome” part that bugs me. But I guess that depends on my definition of overcome.

Life can be hard, and certain people can make it harder for us. But that doesn’t make them nemeses. That just makes them a very big learning opportunity. I’ve recently discovered that winning an argument does not ensure victory. Instead it means I’m going to have to have another conversation somewhere along the line where I don’t gloat and I do let the other person know how much I value them.

Maybe there are people in our lives we can’t overcome. I’m not talking about forgiveness here (that’s a whole different blog). I’m talking about people and circumstances and things that get the best of us. Ultimately though, our fight is not with them.

Don’t get me wrong. The nemesis is out there. It perks its ears up as we walk by. It watches for our undoing. It rejoices when we trip and fall. But it also has met its match.  

There is only one who cannot be overcome, and he is not interested in our ruin, but in giving us abundant life.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

 PS. As a Phineas and Ferb fan, i can’t really have “nemesis” as my word of the week and not include this….



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Cynthia Howerter
11 years ago

I love this article. Nemesis has not been part of my vocabulary, mainly because I have encountered it so infrequently that I really did not know its meaning. Thanks, Mary Beth, for increasing my knowledge! Well done.

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