'You have heard that it is 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.'
When somebody hurts us our immediate reaction is very often to lash back out, but God’s Kingdom is an upside down Kingdom of love, grace, forgiveness, sacrifice and humility. Everything the world seems to teach us is OK or our right, God turns around in the Bible and demands something greater, He demands love.
As a result we try our best to hold back. So instead many of us don’t have any outward physical appearance of this return of hatred, malice or injustice (in public anyway) but inwardly we scowl and hate and anger simmers. But God demands more...
So how do we love our enemies, bless those who curse us and do good to those who hate us? The clue is in the very last line in verse 44, pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Have you ever tried to pray for someone you haven’t forgiven or you hold anger against; it’s like swallowing a cactus. Yet this is the key. Try these three, (I won’t say easy), steps in prayer to help you:
• The first step is to ask forgiveness from God for your own attitude.
• The second step is to say that you choose to forgive this person and to ask God to help you deal with the emotions that you have towards them.
• The third step (the hardest) is to pray for this person all you pray for yourself. Don’t ask Father for anything for yourself that you are not prepared to pray into place for them.
These will be the rawest of prayer times but the beauty of the intimacy with Father that bursts forth as you lay yourself willingly in His arms and he performs open heart surgery. Give it time but suddenly you’ll see a difference in yourself, you’ll see the fruit of your labour. Use the three steps and learn to live in God’s radical way of life.