by Heike Staiger
The Bible often speaks about enemies – people who curse you and hate you, who spitefully use and persecute you. People who are against you and what you are doing, who deceive you, who cast you in a negative light and try to harm you.
Have you experienced something like that?
How to deal with such people?
Is it not it a normal worldly reaction to repay them, retaliate or take revenge? Wouldn’t it be normal to withdraw, put a distance between you and them and make sure you can justify that you are right?
In the world, yes, but not so in our lives with Jesus. There is a higher way than that which we deem as “normal” in the world – A way of freedom, love and kindness that can bring eternal changes!
A Higher Way
Let us look at one character in the Bible. We all know the story of Joseph and how he was rejected and sold by his own brothers into slavery. In his master´s house he was falsely accused by his master’s wife and was thrown into prison. We know what happened and we know the end. Do we see that Joseph accused his brothers or that he took revenge when he finally had the chance? The answer is simple – No. His life was different. His trust was in his God, no matter the circumstances.
“You have heard that it was 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.”Matthew 5:43-44 NKJV
Pray for your enemies
We read a clear instruction from Jesus in Matthew 5:43-44 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was 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.”
Jesus is our ultimate example. No one has ever and will ever face what He had faced and went through with absolutely no guilt, but in every circumstance, He lived what He said until the last minute on the cross. We read that “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7a NKJV). When He was crucified, He prayed “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34 NKJV)
How then, should we live?
As followers of Jesus, we can (and should) live a different way; “a higher way”, and not as it is in the world.
If we live like this, our Father in heaven will be glorified!
If we live like this, we will personally have a great benefit!
If we live like this, it might even bring change in the lives of our enemies!
To be able to love, bless, do good and pray for such people we need to have a heart that has forgiven – and if we have forgiven our heart is free! Then we are no longer hindered or bound by our “enemies”. We can walk and live in freedom. The Lord will reward us for doing good to our enemies. (Proverbs 25:2) If we do so, we will heap coals of fire on their head (Romans 12:20). Through acts of kindness the heart of our enemies can be softened and reached which might lead to their repentance. What a wonderful fruit for our lives!
I still remember being a young Christian and having a person close to me who really challenged me, so it was difficult to put the instructions of Jesus into action, but at the end of the day (after one year) we were good friends!
Be encouraged in your walk with Jesus, no matter what kind of enemies you face. Our first step is a decision – to love, to bless, to do good and to pray!
The Lord is by our side to help us.
Voice in the City is an international, interdenominational mission organisation founded on the 1st January 1997 by Rev. Dr. Suzette Hattingh and Rev. Gayle Claxton. We are as committed to one soul as to a million and are reaching out to the lost in whatever way possible. We endeavour, as a ministry, to operate under the banner of servanthood in all that we do, having a global vision with a local heart.