Do you know of anyone who dislikes you? Are you being persecuted even though you have done nothing wrong? Are there people in your life who are just trying to do anything in their power to make sure that you don’t succeed? What are you doing about it?
Is it right to pray for the damnation of our (human) enemy? Should we pray AGAINST them or should we pray FOR them? What does Jesus say?
Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV
“You have heard that it was 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 spitefully use you and persecute you, THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? THEREFORE YOU SHALL BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.
Jesus clearly says we should LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for our enemies or persecutors.
But why would Jesus command such a thing? It’s not an easy thing to love and do good to those who persecute us. But remember that the Lord knows everything and that He is wise.
WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
- Jesus wants you as a Christian to be different from the world. The world teaches that you must “love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. GOD teaches that you must not only love your neighbor – but you must ALSO love your enemy – because to do so shows that you are “sons of your Father in Heaven”
- Jesus Christ the begotten Son of God came to earth to save and die for the sins of ALL people INCLUDING those people who shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” just before He was nailed to the cross (Luke 23:20-22). Jesus was being persecuted yet He was innocent. Out of LOVE, Jesus died for US ALL WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (Romans 5:8 NKJV). Therefore, though we deserved damnation to hell, God by His love, mercy and grace sent His Son to die for us so that we may have eternal life. Shouldn’t we show the same love to those who are lost?
- While Jesus was hanging on the cross for our sins; experiencing the most excruciating pain known to man He cried “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…” Luke 23:34 NKJV. Jesus was the perfect example of a man who whilst experiencing great pain and persecution which had been caused by others, could still PRAY to the Father and ask the Father to forgive the very people who were crucifying Him on the cross.
- When you LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for your enemies it shows that you have FORGIVENESS in your heart. It means that you are not ruled by a spirit of bitterness and hatred. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
- As a Christian you are supposed to BE LIKE Jesus. You must be a VESSEL TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE LOST – EVEN YOUR ENEMIES. In Luke 9:53-56 we learn that the Samaritans at a village would not receive Jesus and so James & John asked Jesus if they should “command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did”. Jesus had to rebuke them for wanting such a thing to happen to other people and so Jesus responded by saying “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
JESUS DOES NOT DESIRE THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE DESTROYED. JESUS DESIRES THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE SAVED – INCLUDING YOUR ENEMIES.
• There was a man named Saul in the book of Acts 9:1-19. He used to persecute and kill Christians. One day as Saul came near Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul had no idea that when he persecuted Christians, he was also persecuting Jesus. Nevertheless Jesus didn’t want to destroy Saul even though Saul had persecuted so many Christians. Jesus wanted to save Saul and to use Saul for God’s glory. So Saul was blinded when Jesus appeared to him and he couldn’t see for several days. Jesus appeared to a man called Ananias to go and find Saul so that he may pray for Saul. Now Saul of course was already well known for his persecutions against Christians and Ananias didn’t understand why the Lord Jesus was asking him to go and pray for Saul, an enemy of Christians. The Lord then told Ananias the plans that He had for Saul and of course Ananias obeyed and Saul got his sight back.
Saul later got his name changed to Paul. This is the same Paul (Saul) who wrote most of the New Testament in the Bible through the inspiration of God.
What’s my point? Like Ananias we need to obey the Lord Jesus and pray for our enemies, for Jesus may have a plan for them. We are NOT called to pray for the DESTRUCTION of people, but we are called to PRAY FOR their SALVATION. It is an act of LOVE.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Jesus praying to the Father: “Forgive them…” whilst hanging on the cross wasn’t easy. I’m not saying be naïve and let people take advantage of you. I’m simply saying obey Jesus, be more like Jesus and let the Spirit of God teach you to love and do good in every situation.
Romans 12:14-21 NKJV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”* says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”* Do not be overcome by evil, but OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.