"You have heard the law that says, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."
Love is a powerful, amazing thing. When you love someone, It makes you feel like you could grab their hand and skip in a most ridiculous way up Fifth Avenue during the busy tourist season without even a wink of worry. It’s just so easy to love those who love you back.
On Jesus’ sermon on the mount, He commands us to do something far more challenging than to love those who love us. He commands us to love those we hate – needless to say, that’s tougher.
God recently challenged me in this area. We are currently in the middle of the “I Quit!”teaching series here at the Journey, but at the beginning of this year I found myself in another teaching series that I like to call, “I Got Fired!” I really loved my job – from the people I worked with, to the products we offered, to the sweet rooftop with hammocks and ping pong tables.
After five years of loyalty, I walked into the office on a Friday only to be told (for reasons unknown) that that was to be my last day. I felt betrayed, and I was ready to vilify my boss and focus my sights on her as my new enemy numero uno. As hard as it was at first, I knew I needed to surrender the situation to God and pray for the people I felt anger toward. I gave praise for God being such an incredible God, and thanked Him for the path He had already prepared for me. I also felt convicted to pray for the health and well being of my boss, and prayed that she would find the peace and guidance she needed in the workplace. Finally, I prayed that I could surrender any feelings of animosity I held against her, and that I could love her as a sister in Christ. It was incredible how a weight of anger and sadness began to lift from my chest almost immediately. I continued to pray through in this way over the next few weeks any time I felt a lingering anger stir within, and by God’s grace I was able to let go all of the ill feelings I had harbored.
Do you have someone in your life that you consider to be your “enemy numero uno?” Whoever it might be and whatever they might have done, allow me to challenge you to surrender the situation to God and pray for those who have persecuted you. It’s easy to love love, but God commands us to love our enemies as well.
Nathan Davison lives in Astoria with his wife Candace (who he loves very much) and they can be often be found skipping hand in hand up Fifth Avenue during tourist season. God is good, and He blessed Nathan with a great new opportunity as a Sales Trainer for Indeed.com.