As the title suggests, it is a common practice that Christians should strive to love their enemies and pray for them. This seems like an odd concept in the modern time when belittling others and revenge are very common practices. But this is Christ’s command: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as you’re heavenly Father is perfect.”
How often have we read or heard a piece of tragic news and prayed for the victims? However, when it comes to the perpetrators, we typically don’t feel nearly as much sympathy, if any. Many times, we will even hear people say the evil people deserve to die themselves or that they hoped that they burn in hell.
WE can all think of some recent tragic events, be it attacks on Ukraine, purging of Christians in Iraq, terrorist activity in Nigeria or civil unrest in Israel, we can always find someone to blame for these happenings. It’s easy to find fault but much harder to forgive and pray. The truth of the matter is, those who perform acts of evil are just as much in need of redemption as the rest of us. They are searching for a purpose in their lives and trying to find it in very perverse ways, instead of turning to God, who is the only one who fulfill them and heal their wounds.
The next time we witness a tragedy or hear of one, let us make it a goal to pray and forgive for all of those involved so that they may come to a deeper understanding of Christ and what he is calling us to be.