“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves…If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.”
Matthew 5:43-48 The Message
You have probably heard this bible verse before. I believe when you hear this passage, most of you will stop and pray for your enemies. Most of our prayers for enemies tend to sound like this. God, I pray for my enemy that they will stop seeing the world in their way and see it more like me. God I pray that this person will lose the election, mess up on the project, and get a taste of their own medicine. To sum it up, we pray God make my enemy to be made more and more daily into my image, and then we won’t be enemies anymore.
When I read Jesus words in the Sermon on the Mount, I find it hard to believe that Jesus is suggesting that we pray for enemies to become more like us or that harm would come upon our enemies. It is that very sentiment that Jesus is speaking against, and Jesus even accuses us of being no better than a non-believing sinner if we seek ill for our enemies. Instead I believe Jesus is teaching us to pray that others would be made more and more into the image of the God who created them daily. Pray for your enemies that any disobedience, any imperfection, any struggles in their lives would be made clear, and that they would seek reconciliation, forgiveness, and new life in Christ. Then look in the mirror and offer the same prayer for yourself. Pray that God would stomp out any pride, grudges, or any sinful feelings and thoughts towards this person or group would be pushed out. Pray that God would give you clear perspective that both you and your enemy are sinners in need of a savior and in need of forgiveness. Pray that God would break down would change you and your enemy in to individuals who follow Christ more wholeheartedly each day. Trust that God will answer, and be ready for what opportunities God might place before you.