Matthew 5:44-48 (KJV)
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
In this world filled with violence and hatred against Christians, this seems at times quite impossible to do, doesn’t it? When we read about the terrorist attacks, and even how our own government is plotting against believers – it invokes anger in us. The anger is not sin – it’s what we do with the anger. Jesus asks us to pray for those who despitefully use us. I confess that I have not been very obedient to this in the last few years. I am writing this article as much to myself, as to my readers.
What did Jesus mean when He instructed us to love our enemies?
Answer: When Jesus said we are to love our enemies, He was creating a new standard for relationships. He proclaimed to the crowds listening to His Sermon on the Mount that they knew they were to love their neighbor because the command to love our neighbor was a law of God (Leviticus 19:18). That we must therefore hate our enemy was an inference incorrectly drawn from it by the Jews. While no Bible verse explicitly says “hate your enemy,” the Pharisees may have somewhat misapplied some of the Old Testament passages about hatred for God’s enemies (Psalm 139:19-22; 140:9-11). But Jesus replaced this idea with an even higher standard: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). Jesus goes on to explain that loving those who love us is easy and even unbelievers can do that. Then He commands us to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).
Jesus explained to His followers that they should adhere to the real meaning of God’s law by loving their enemies as well as their neighbors. A Pharisee once asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Jesus then told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Here Jesus taught that His followers must demonstrate love to all kinds of people—no matter what faith, nationality, or personality—enemies included. If you love your enemies and “pray for those who persecute you,” you then truly reveal that Jesus is Lord of your life.
By using an illustration of the sun rising and the rain falling on both the good and the evil, Jesus shows God’s undiscriminating love to all people. His disciples then must reflect His character and exhibit this same undiscriminating love for both friends and enemies. Jesus is teaching us that we must live by a higher standard than what the world expects—a standard that is impossible for us to attain by our own efforts. It’s only through the power of God’s Spirit that His people can truly love and pray for those who intend to do them harm (Romans 12:14-21).
Finally, after giving us the admonition to love our enemies, Jesus then gives us this command: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). As sons of our Father (Matthew 5:45), we are to be perfect, even as He is perfect. This is utterly impossible for sinful man to achieve. This unattainable standard is exactly what the Law itself demanded (James 2:10). So how can Jesus demand the impossible? He later tells us, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). That which God demands, only He can accomplish, including the demand to love our enemies. What is impossible for man becomes possible for those who give their lives to Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. -source
I have been reading that many Muslims have been coming to Christ. Of course, this is not on our main stream news – not even Fox. This should make us rejoice and pray for the deceived Muslims even more!
Christians ministering quietly in the Middle East say Muslims are coming to Christ at an unprecedented pace despite intense persecution of those who leave Islam.
“Probably in the last 10 years, more Muslims have come to faith in Christ than in the last 15 centuries of Islam,” said Tom Doyle, Middle East-Central Asia director for e3 Partners, a Texas-based missions agency.
A former pastor, Doyle has been to the Middle East around 80 times and last week returned to the U.S. from a trip to Jerusalem, where he said both Muslims and Jews are turning to Christianity. – source
I pray that Muslims are coming to the REAL Jesus from the Word of God. They must understand that He is not “Isa” from the Qur’an. I also pray that the Jews and Israelis who come to Christ are understanding that Jesus is God come in the flesh, and that He came for everyone – not just for them.
But, no matter what, we are to obey the Lord in His command to us to love and pray for our enemies.
I wrote an article about my neighbor who used to ridicule and harass me for many years for being a Christian. One day she told me that she was now a follower of Christ. I rejoiced with her – I was so happy for her and I thanked the Lord for giving me a sister in Christ right in back of our home. She and her husband attended the Catholic church, but I have known a few Catholics who had become genuinely born again.
About a month ago, my neighbor and I were talking and politics came up. She found out that I am a Republican and completely lost it with me. I told her that abortion was wrong and she raised her voice and said that I wanted women to resort to back alley abortions again. She is a Hillary woman all the way. Her eyes were wild with anger at me.
Knowing that I write articles online, she then said to me “You are no writer – you are on no one’s payroll, therefore you are not a writer. I answered her that I was on God’s payroll – that my reward would be in heaven. She rolled her eyes and repeated – “You are NO writer!”
I struggled with this for weeks. I was angry with her, but also angry at myself for immediately believing that she had been born again. But then I realized that the Lord wanted me to pray for this woman. I am not going out of my way to talk with her. I don’t want a repeat of that horrible day. But I am cordial and most importantly, I am praying for her.
The Reign of Obama and his association with our enemies:
Now this is an area in which I really struggle. I cannot watch or listen to BHO. I find myself writing all manner of disparaging words about him. I know that what I write is based on fact; but I also know that I should be praying for him and his administration.
God allowed this man to become our president twice. He is being used by the Lord to bring about His prophetic Word. Hillary Clinton may very well be our next president. I felt myself having feelings very close to a tantrum, but then it hit me – she will be president if the Lord allows it.
I have said in many of my pieces that I truly believe that God has removed His protection from the U.S. It grieves me so much that the U.S. was founded upon His Word and our founding fathers looked to Him for guidance in everything. Benjamin Franklin knew the evil in men’s hearts and wondered if we could even keep our Republic. If our founders were here, they would surely weep. Our nation (not believers) has turned its back on God and has removed Him from most areas of our lives. He has every right as Creator of the Universe, to judge us and to no longer protect us.
Brethren, as hard as it is, the Lord wants us to pray for our enemies. We must not “look” like the world. We are in this world, but certainly not “of” it.