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. (Matthew 5:44-45)
How do you love your enemies?
My family has gone through some challenging circumstances recently. We learned through helpful friends that thieves have stolen money from my parents, lived in their home without our permission, smoked drugs on their property, and taken advantage of them in ways that only God fully knows.
Fortunately, this group of thieves who have taken advantage of frail and vulnerable people like my parents is not the majority within their community. Several people who know my parents have been providing ongoing support. The police have been involved, neighbors have kept watch, and order is being restored.
So, I have chosen to forgive those thieves who have attempted to disrupt my family. The Lord’s prayer says that if I forgive other people when they sin against me, my Heavenly Father will also forgive me (Matthew 6:14), and Jesus reminds me to forgive the other person, just as He has forgiven me (Ephesians 4:32).
Over the last few weeks, I have been praying for their salvation and reminding myself, and others, that Jesus of Nazareth is our Sovereign Judge. Every knee will bow before Him, and no one will escape His judgment. The books will be opened, everything hidden will be revealed, and everyone will be held accountable for the seeds they have sown in their lives.
Choosing to forgive my enemy isn’t easy, but it is necessary for my own freedom, growth, and maturity. Consequently, I am able to let go of my feelings of retaliation and trust God with the outcome of these circumstances.
Along the way, Jesus has been teaching me some valuable lessons: For instance, 1) if I love Him, rather than loving money, then He can truly perfect me in His love; 2) His desire is for me to store up treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:20), and 3) my Heavenly Father’s goodness prevails over the righteous and the unrighteous in the earth, so maybe He has something to teach me?
Help us, as believers in Jesus of Nazareth to love, forgive, and pray for our enemies. May you comfort us in our pain, embrace us with your love, and set us free from every evil intention set against us. Use these circumstances to draw us closer to you, and teach us how to forgive those who have hurt us. May we trust you to lead us out of this darkness into the light of your marvelous love. Thank you for restoring, healing, and presenting us blameless before you because of the finished work of Jesus of Nazareth. To you be the glory Father, forever and ever. Amen.