Wednesday August 24, 2005
As stories make their way out of the persecuted church, we hear about Christians who respond to jail time, beatings, and harassment with unimaginable grace and dignity. These saints have learned to apply Christ’s “love your enemies” command, even in the harshest circumstances.
We may never face a beating for our faith, but we will run across people who hate and mistreat us. The easy and natural response is to dislike them in return, but harboring ill will chokes our witness with bitterness. Instead, Jesus instructs us to love our adversary and to treat Him well. The Greek word is agape—unconditional love—which is not a soft feeling based on the attractive nature or appearance of the other person. Agape forms through an act of our will. When we choose to love, our emotions follow the decision of our mind.
A right response to an enemy will prove beneficial to him. God has a redemptive plan in mind for his life, and we have an opportunity to help show him the way to the Lord. An bitter or angry response only serves to feed our adversary’s desire to cause harm.
The natural urge to return one wrong for another can be subdued only through prayer, the most powerful weapon in our arsenal. Instead of begging the Father to defeat our enemy, we can ask Him for the opportunity to express genuine Christlike love in the face of opposition. That’s the kind of prayer God is delighted to answer. And when we are privileged to meet the need of one who despises us, we might just see an amazing change in his life.
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Come hear Dr. Stanley at The Extraordinary Life Rallies this October in