October 12, 2017
In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus taught His followers a different way of looking at things and responding to other people. As He told us, You have heard it said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you and pray for those who use you or mistreat you, spitefully.
Thank God, Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies and love them without demanding something as humanly impossible as liking them!
From a biblical perspective, love has little to do with preferring people to whom we fondly respond. Instead godly love calls for upright actions whereby we act with kindness and consideration for the well-being of others, including unsavory characters and people we dislike.
Wanting to please and obey God would be reason enough for us to love our enemies, but God might have more in mind. For example, loving our adversaries can disarm them, calm them, heal them, and help them to hear what we have to say about our forgiving Father and His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Even though earthly foes might bully or people abuse, our prayers promptly propel our enemies into a spiritual realm protected by the power of Almighty God. Think of it! What blessings, what spiritual awakening, what new hope of reconciliation could our loving prayers bring to the most unlovable people?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father of All, forgive us for wishing anyone ill! Help us to convey Your love to everyone with whom we have contact. Give us Your words of blessing, especially to our families, other Christians, and church leaders, but also to those who wish us ill or, worse, who malign You. Protect us, Lord. Help us to do what’s best from Your perspective and become excellent examples of Your forgiving love in Jesus’ Name.
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, from her new book, What the Bible Says About Love