WEEKLY DEVOTION
 

Love your Enemies

Love your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-45

“You have heard it was said love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father in heaven. For he causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”

 

                With all that has gone on in just the past week with the killings of 21 Egyptian Christians and 45 Iranians by ISIS, along with three Muslims killed in Chapel Hill this verse keeps coming back into my mind. Hate and vengeance seem to be in full supply these days and people want to repay evil with evil, and to be completely honest I have had times in the past week where I have felt hatred towards the people who are causing so much harm and fighting in our world today. I have wanted to love my neighbor but keep hating my enemy, but that is not what God has called us to.

                The words above that are the center of our devotion were spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and he was no stranger to persecution or hatred. If you will remember that He was killed for a crime he didn’t commit by people that he came to preach the Gospel to. And even before that there are situations where Jesus was run out of towns by people because they disagreed with what he had to say. And even growing up under the rule of the Roman Empire during this time, people like Jesus knew what it was like to have people push you around and tell you what to do and literally have your enemy living next to you. But how do we take what Jesus said so many years ago about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you and put them into action today? Surely Jesus was not talking about us praying and loving members of ISIS. Yes, I full heartedly believe that is exactly the kind of people that he was talking about.

                During a discussion in Sunday school this past week we talked about how it seems like good things and happen to bad people, or how bad people seem to prosper. And interesting Psalm was brought up during the discussion and it is Psalm 73 (I encourage you to read it), it is written by a man named Asaph and he had the same type of question, why do good things seem to happen to bad people? Or why to the wicked seem to prosper? A question that I am sure has passed through our minds as we watch terrorist mutilate people and seemingly nothing being done about it. But Asaph comes to and interesting point in his quest for an answer. It says in Psalm 73:16-18 “When I tried to understand all this it seemed hopeless until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny. Indeed you put them in slippery places; You make them fall into ruin.” Asaph looked down the road and saw that a day was coming when God would vindicate all the wrong that these people had done. And that is what he is going to do to all the people who are terrorizing Christians now and even people who are far off from Him. While we want to see justice served I don’t think we should rejoice in people going to hell, at least which is what I think that Jesus is trying to tell us in Matthew.

                How does all of this translate into our world today though? The praying for our enemies and loving those who persecute us, and justice being served? Well I think that practically we should do just what Matthew says. I full heartedly believe that we should all, as Christians, be in prayer every single day for our enemies (ISIS, Al-Quad a, etc.) for their salvation. That God would start a huge revival within those groups and draw them to Himself. Hell is a terrible place and I wouldn’t want any of them to have to spend eternity there. Love them. As hard and backwards as it sounds I think that we should love these people. I am not saying love what they are doing, but I am calling for us to love them enough that we care where they spend eternity. It is not our place to judge them and condemn them, that is God’s job, we are to love all people. Show them love by starting a prayer chain to unite people all over the place to be praying for their salvation. If God can save Saul of Tarsus then he can save a member or leader of ISIS! Let’s not be overcome with hatred and enmity towards these people, but instead as Christians let us love them and pray for their salvation!
 
- Tyler Mooring