5 SHOCKING REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE AND PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMY| Saturday 1st Week of Lent | DAY 10

Many ask: is God insensitive to our pains by demanding we LOVE and PRAY for our enemies? How can God be just in demanding these from me after many afflictions from an enemy? Don't I have the rights to be angry or heartbroken? Do you beat a child and expect him not to cry? Don't I deserve some consolation to see my offender suffer repercussions for the harm inflicted on me? Why adding pain to injury by demanding LOVE from me? What kind of prayer does God expect other than my offenders end miserably? Hmmm, this is hard, I must admit. But the Lord's reply would shock you! If you wish to know read slowly...

Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

POINTS FOR REFLECTION

1. Hmmm, could Jesus be serious when he said all these? I think I should ask: How can I forgive a husband who habitually cheats on me and beats me; or a wife who betrays my love for her and cheats on me? How can I forgive that business partner who stole my share of the proceeds and leaves me in abject poverty? How can I forgive for that person who raped me, left me traumatised and pregnant? How can I forgive a serial killer after I discovering he killed those I love? After all these God still demands I love and pray for them, and calls that perfection? No this is hard, I can't take this! I rather remain imperfect! The list is endless; yes, endless is list of questions.

But God says: my child, forgiveness is for the strong and not for the weak, and I desire to make you strong! God does not ask us to do the impossible but something very possible. God does not abandon His children to the mercy of their enemies but protects their rights! There are 5 shocking reasons why you should love and Pray for your enemies:

1. God wants you to know that knowledge of your enemy is first and foremost a sign of His grace on you because unknown enemies are far dangerous than the ones you know. Remember those who wants your downfall will never open up to you else you avert it. As evil operates in cover of darkness so does enemies as well as the bible says in John 3:19-20: 'And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.'

2. God protects your rights by asking you to forgive, love and pray for your enemies because that is the only weapon you have in your arms to combat evil because you cannot destroy evil with evil, but with good. Thus the Bible says in Romans 12: 21: 'do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'

3. Love of enemies means not denying them any good that naturally accrues to them. You must not deny the enemy this because it is a bait against them as the bible says in Proverbs 25: 21-22: 'If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

4. Praying for enemies have three steps which must be followed in this order: pray that they repent and be converted, that their evil machinations be exposed, and that the vengeance or Justice of God will visit them if they continued to harden their hearts. For this reason Psalm 35 says: oppose those who oppose me Lord, fight those who fight me.

5. Whatever Jesus tells us to do, he first lived it out. He did not deny good things to Judas Iscariot who betrayed him, but at the Last supper, gave him the gift of the priesthood like other Apostles, and the gift of his body and blood. Now see the effects of this on Judas: the bible says in John 13: 27-30 that as soon as Judas received the piece of bread, 'satan entered him' and 'it became night'. This is because the heart of Judas was full of evil against Jesus, hence instead of receiving a blessing he received condemnation.

TASK: Live your life today following the principles of the Word of God- the same Word by which all things were made, just as things that were not came into being on account of the Word, so will new things spring up and flourish in your life. Stay by this Word and it will transform you into God's plan and declaration about you, as a person consecrated for praise, for renown and for honour (Deut 26: 19) in Jesus name. Amen.

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