Do We Really Love Our Enemies?
We read the Psalms and see David’s prayers of vindication from his enemies, and we believe we should pray destruction over those we see as our enemies. We call it righteous anger. Outwardly we pretend to be loving, but inwardly we want to see them fail. Does this satisfy Jesus’ command for us to love our enemies?
I’ve heard people brag about how God listened to their prayers to bring down people who opposed them. I’m not saying their prayers were not effective, but I’m not sure that is the example we are to follow. If we are to follow Jesus’ example, we are to bring life to everyone we meet (John 10:10).
Biblical Examples of How Much to Love
The world leaders in the New Testament were against Christianity and eventually martyred both Paul and Peter. Yet, these apostles urge us to pray for our leaders (Romans 13:4-5 & 1 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul even states that they are God’s servants.
While Daniel and Joseph both served kings who wanted to be worshipped as gods, they still served faithfully. When Daniel finds out about a prophesy about the death of one king, he laments it wasn’t about the king’s enemies. Both helped their leaders prosper.
There is a justice button many of us have and when people do things we interpret as against us, we want evil for them. We may know we are not supposed to repay evil for evil, but we secretly desire God to take out revenge for us. God is calling us a higher lifestyle. We are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). What if we produced so much good that evil couldn’t touch us?
The One Who Loved Naaman
There is a lovely story in the Old Testament about an enemy of Israel (2 Kings 5). Naaman was a successful general in the Syrian army and some of his success was in overcoming Israel. On one of his campaigns he stole a young girl from Israel. She was taken from her family and all she had ever known to live in a strange land and made to be a slave.
With all these reasons, she could have hated Naaman and wanted bad things to happen to him. When a bad thing did happen, she sought out her master to offer him help. Naaman had contacted leprosy and could not find a cure. This slave girl knew of a prophet in Israel that could help.
She didn’t really do much in the story. Elisha was the one who knew how to heal him, but Naaman would not have known about Elisha without the girl speaking up. She could have keep him in his disease, but she choose to offer him hope.
How Much Should We Love?
When we get frustrated by people, we have often lost focus on God’s sovereignty. Vengeance is the Lord’s; our responsibility is to love (Deuteronomy 32:35). Even David, our model in the Psalms which we based vindictive prayers, grieved the deaths of his greatest enemies, Saul and Absalom.
Instead of harboring anger towards others, let’s start praying for their success. Let’s pray prayers for them that we wish people would pray for us. Let’s rejoice in their successes and grieve in their stumbles. May our love be pure and bring more of heaven to our world.
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.