1 Peter 3:8-12 (NRSV)Repay abuse with a blessing
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called - that you might inherit a blessing. For
"Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Yesterday I had the privilege of teaching a class on prayer. We talked about the importance of praying for ourselves, family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors, then we talked about the imperative to also pray for our ENEMIES as well!
It is not an easy thing to pray for your enemies. Our flesh desires their evil, but the Spirit desires their good. Flesh desires their destruction, but Spirit desires their construction. Flesh wants revenge, Spirit wants reconciliation.
Ah! Today's scripture says do not repay evil for evil, or abuse for abuse, rather repay both with a blessing...
As Christians we are called to do the impossible thing through CHRIST. That is why I am glad that the Bible promises that, "we CAN do all things through Christ, who gives us the strength that we need."
It is true; in our own strength, it is hard to bless our enemies who do evil and commit abuse against us. But with Christ, we can love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who use and persecute us.
In yesterday's study I jokingly said, "I actually love to pray for those whom I know would hate for me to do it..." (giggles)
I think that this is the greatest revenge! As I pray for those who would not want it, I get into alignment with God's will for their lives, as I seek their total transformation, petitioning God to send forth the Holy Spirit who is capable of filling them with the love, joy, and peace that they truly need!
Won't you pray for your enemies today?
Let us pray: Oh God! Please help me to love my enemies and pray for their good. Please forgive me for those times that I have sought revenge, rather than your will and your way. Please help me to be a faithful intercessor for all of your children. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.