READ : Matthew 5:43-48
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . .” (v. 44).
Abuse. A popular issue, but it’s not new. Jesus used the words persecute, mistreat, and oppress to describe the actions of those who, because they are more powerful, violently take advantage of others. It seems few are spared from some sort of abuse from others in this world. We live with bitter grudges, feelings of helplessness, and hopeless despair because of our pain. And we don’t know what to do.
Think of those who are your enemies, those who have hurt you with sharp words, violent acts, financial fraud, or neglect and abandonment. It’s hard, and we often crave revenge. Yet Jesus says to love them and to pray for them! These astounding words shatter our sense of justice and seem all wrong.
God knows, however, that when we begin with prayer, we’ll gain perspective in our suffering and start to find the right answers. Until we can believe that only the grace of God keeps us from being abusive, we cannot deal graciously with our enemies. We save ourselves from wretchedness and reflect God’s heart when we can pray for and love our enemies. This does not mean we remain docilely passive when abused, but we can move toward God’s outlook acting out of love, not hate.
Dear God, please give us Your perspective toward our enemies as we pray for them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.