Forgiving our enemies.
Matthew 5:43-44 NASB
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
Who are your enemies? What are their names or position of influence in your life? Even your enemies have influence over your life. Don’t let them get the best of you.
When we think of enemies many things come to mind. On a global scale they could be; North Korea, Russia, Iran, Islam, dial it in a bit to our nation; democrats/republicans, left/right wing extremists, atheist’s, false teacher’s. Let’s bring it in a little closer, is your enemy a co-worker, boss, an annoying acquaintance, or closer yet, a parent or sibling, your X or your current spouse.
As a church we say love God and love people…the two greatest commands in the Bible.
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; and YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘You SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Are your enemies people? Love them.
If anyone had a right to be angry at His enemies it was Jesus. But even from the cross he prayed and extended forgiveness.
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
If it was me, I would have identified more with Him saying; Father, judge them or condemn them!
But He didn’t. He said, Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Jesus was doing what he had taught at the sermon on the mount.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
The last verse of Isaiah 53 states that Jesus would pray for those who persecuted Him. Him praying this was a fulfillment of messianic prophecy. He prayed for the very perpetrators of His death.
Who did he forgive? Pilate, because he had the power to free Him and He didn’t. The Roman guards, from those who beat Him to those who hung Him on the cross.
Even Judas, the betrayer. He held no bitterness or un-forgiveness against them.
Jesus was saying, Father forgive them, they really do not understand what they are doing. Forgive them because they need it, what they have done is incomprehensible.
Can you pray that for your enemies? Those who have wronged you?
When was the last time you prayed for your enemies?
Remember behind the scenes, other things are going on. What is causing people to lash out at you or react the way they do?
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”.
Pray for those who persecute you… Pray for your enemies and watch what God does, not just in them, but in you!
We are 12 days in to our 40 days of prayer.
As we continue to our 40 days of prayer remember these points:
1) Pray that we individually, grow in our relationship with God…
2) Pray for family and friends…
3) Pray for our church…
4) Pray that we can be a Godly influence in our community…
5) Pray for our nation…
I Prayed for you this morning!
Have a great day!