Matthew 5: 44-45
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
To truly act like children of God, we need to show love for those who may be the most unlovable.
Corrie ten Boom was a young Christian Dutch woman who, during World War II, led a “safe house” movement to save Jews from the Nazis, often hiding Jews in her family’s home. Corrie and her family were betrayed, arrested, and sent to concentration camps. All her family died in camps, while Corrie was miraculously released. (You can read her whole story in her autobiography called The Hiding Place.)
Corrie’s faith and love for God led her to continue ministry, to both survivors of the camps and to those who had been collaborators with the Nazis. She spoke before crowds of Germans about the love of God and His forgiveness, if they would accept Christ’s salvation. After one speech, she was faced by a man who had been a guard in her camp. He had repented of the terrible things he’d done, become a Christian, and knew God forgave him. This former enemy asked Corrie if she would also forgive him. He raised his hand to shake hers.
Corrie knew that God called for her to forgive this man. But her heart was cold. “Jesus, help me,” she prayed. “I can lift my hand, but You must supply the feeling.” When her hand connected with his, Corrie said it felt like an electrical current ran down her arm, into their hands, and filled them both with the warmth of love. She was able to forgive him and accept him as a brother in Christ.
This is the kind of love Jesus is talking about in this verse, a love that extends even to those who harm us. God allows both evil and good to exist together for now. And this gives us the opportunity to pray for those who are far from God, love them with His mercy, and help them be drawn to salvation.
Are you able to pray for those who have hurt you or even just disagree with you? Will you ask God to open your heart to loving the unlovable?
Father God, I pray that You would fill me with Your love, so that I can pray for those who have hurt me or others. Help me to show Your love to them, so they will be open to the redeeming work of Your Spirit. May I truly be Your child, loving even those who are not easy to love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Submitted by: Dianne Novak