It is a general tendency among us to pray for healing or blessing for those people who are good to us or our well-wishers. But God’s standards are different in this matter. His ways & thoughts are higher than ours, this we can learn from the life of Bible characters like Job & Moses. God forgave Job’s friends for their wrongs against Job, when Job offered a burnt offering & prayer for them to God. It is written in Job 42:10, that after Job’s prayer for his friends, Lord restored Job’s losses, twice as much as he had before.
In other incident when Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married, the anger of the Lord was aroused against them & Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. But Moses intervened & prayed to God for her healing. God heard Moses’ prayer. (Numbers 12).
In both the incidents of Old Testament, God forgave Job’s friends & Miriam after Job & Moses prayer for their forgiveness. God is the same, yesterday, today & forever. And that is why, Jesus commanded in Mathew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour 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” Why? Because He wants us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
Let us see some encouragements from His Word how we can bless & love who hate us.
- Pour out your heart before Him – That is to share our hurt to our heavenly Friend. He had gone through sorrow, mockery and rejection when He was on earth, so He understands us, how we feel. What a friend we have in Jesus that we can share with Him our inmost emotions, feelings & fears without any hesitation! He is the friend, who sticks closer than a brother.
- Follow the example of Jesus – Jesus remained silent when He was persecuted & accused falsely (Mathew 26:59 to 63), and became the perfect example for us. He did not open His mouth to justify Himself but He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:21-23) – “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” It is so blessed to imitate Jesus by entrusting our hurts, which we have gone through, to God who judges justly.
- Do not avenge – Its says in Romans 12:19 “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to God’s wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. This is the reason that we should bless those who persecute us. God’s dealing with our persecutors is different than ours. Because it says in Jeremiah 9:24 “That I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.” Also Psalm 9:8 says that “He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.” He is the righteous Judge, who does not show any partiality. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE are the foundation of His throne. Therefore, the author of Romans instructs us further in 12:20-21 that, “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.”
- Gaze/focus/look unto Jesus – Being human, it is very difficult to bless those who curse us or pray for those who spread lies about us. But when we focus on Jesus, it is possible. When Stephen was accused falsely for blasphemy & brought into the council. (Acts 6) He spoke boldly about the truth. (Acts 7). He did not receive any appreciation but he received stones from the people. Before being stoned, they saw his face as the face of an angel. (Acts 6:15) but they were cut to the heart & gnashed at him with their teeth. At that time Stephen gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. That is why he could forgive them when they stoned him (Acts 7:60) Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. So when our focus is on Jesus & if we are imitating Him, it is possible to forgive our enemies.
- Have patience – Finally, we have to be patient & wait upon the Lord for His timing. He will prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. As Proverbs 20:22 says Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and He will avenge you”…
- Rejoice in the Lord – If we are going through insults, sufferings, fiery trials because of the name of Jesus, then we should rejoice because when His glory is revealed we may be overjoyed. And we are blessed, for the spirit of glory rests upon us as per 1 Peter 4:13-14.
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19) Again the Word of God encourages us that we should commit ourselves to God & not stop doing good.
To take revenge is an easy way of this world but let us look unto Jesus & ask His grace to pray & bless for those who hate us! The Word of God warns us in Proverbs 24:17-18 that ‘Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.’ Indeed His thoughts are higher than ours. It is natural that we would be happy when our enemy goes through some trouble, but God does not want us to be glad, rather His will is to bless & pray for our enemy. His ways are righteous in wrath also.
All glory & praises to Him forever. Amen!
Anjali J. Benjamin
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