Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pray for Those Who Persecute You

Matthew 5:44-45, 48
     "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.... Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

A challenging verse even for the staunchiest of Christians and often less associated with those who consider themselves anything close to the word "staunch".  The text begs for us to take a higher calling and let circumstances not get in the way of the Lord's purpose in each life created here on this planet.

Over the past couple of weeks i've heard the call to pray for our enemies followed with, "So you will start to feel better about the person" or "your heart will change toward that individual", rarely does the phrase explain what those feelings are or what that change looks like.  What concerns my heart is this phrase will be taken out of context, that people will begin to pray for those who are persecuting them - simply so they can feel better about being around the individual.

This is not the purpose of the prayer nor is it anywhere in the calling of the verse.  We do not pray for our enemies so we can walk around this Earth feeling ok/indifferent about the atrocities and malevolence (not the movie) of others.  While the byproduct of a life fully lived in Christ does equip us with a sort of ready-at-hands detachment from a great deal of reality, we are called to pray for our enemies because we are called to love our enemies.

Under the pain and pressure of the world - under the circumstances and chaos of the day every man is born fragile and every heart longs to be reunited with the Lord.  That is our prayer, not so we can feel better, but so they can feel better.  Not so our tempers will stay calm, so that the destruction our enemies put forth will not utterly destroy their relationships with around them.  Not so we can "fix" them.  We are called to love them regardless of how we are feeling in the moment and whatever the superior fleeting circumstantial outcome might be.

The sun ALSO rises.

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