Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) 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,
This is one of the hardest commands to follow for Christians. It’s easy to nod your head in agreement when you hear it in a sermon. It’s comfortable to discuss in Sunday School in communal piety. It’s very spiritual to advise someone else THEY should be blessing their enemies and praying for them.
But when the rubber meets the road and enemies come-a-callin’ at OUR door, MY door, YOUR door, well the excuses and the justifications start bubbling up like a witch’s cauldron.
“You don’t understand what happened…” “I know the Bible says pray for my enemy but I just can’t possibly bring myself to do it for THIS person…” “It’s a waste of time praying for them, they are beyond ever changing”. And on and on we go.
It could be the ex-spouse, the politician, the business partner who cheated us or the heavy-weight gossip at church spreading lies about us… what’s easy in concept (“bless those who curse you”) becomes seemingly impossible in practice (“pray for those who persecute you”). And we think because it feels impossible that alleviates our responsibility to obey. We get a Godly pass.
Think It Over: We often confuse the DESIRE to obey with the CHOICE to obey. The Bible doesn’t say we have to FEEL LIKE blessing and praying for our enemies. It says we must CHOOSE to do so. Your emotions are secondary, real yes, but secondary. Obedience is the evidence of genuine faith and salvation. To obey one of the hardest commandments in all of Scripture is strong evidence of strong faith.