The longer I walk with the Lord Jesus, and the longer I'm on this Earth, the more interesting things I learn about life. I also gradually gain a number of interesting insights into bible verses that were interesting little insights or passages in the bible, but never really meant much to me. But now, through simply experiencing life one day at a time as it's thrown at me, many of those verses have now come alive to me and, instead of being just little curiosities, have opened up and become amazing, incredible, and unbelievably rich messages that are, can and should be applied to every day of my life. One of these verses I speak of that has really come alive for me lately is Luke 6:27. It reads, "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
In some small degree I've applied that verse all throughout my Christian life as best I can. But it wasn't until more recently that this verse really came alive for me in ways I hadn't imagined. Several people I know on Facebook, one a good friend, and one a passing acquaintance, got really, really and I mean really mad at me. Neither situation was my fault that I'm aware of. One began with an argument over topics that they held extremely dear to themselves, but really were only a matter of interpretation. IE, the bible didn't lay it out in black and white, so there was room for interpretation. I was fine agreeing to disagree with them, as I sometimes do with others who have disparate, but not necessarily unbiblical views, and certainly not heretical ones. Usually they're just different views on something that's not really set in stone in scripture and thus open to personal interpretation.
Anyhow, I was fine to disagree. They apparently weren't and after some time they finally got really mad, cut the cord, banned me, blocked me, and said some unkind things in parting. What have I done as a result? Did I go to war, or report them or spread rumors or slander or other things about them? No. Not even remotely close. I went and prayed for them. In fact, I've been praying for them on and off as I can remember ever since. We'll probably never talk again this side of heaven, but that's fine. I will still pray for them, even if they dragged me into court and dragged my name through the mud. Why? Well, one they're a sister in the Lord. I can't treat them as an enemy. I have to pray for them regardless, as I'm sure there's reasons for why they acted that way. I know the pain and anguish they're going through, so I attribute some of their anger issues to that.
Cripes, I improperly blew up at my former pastor over things that got bottled up and never dealt with leading to an unnecessary and needless blowout that should never have happened. So I've been on both sides of the aisle, as the one doing the angry carpet bombing, and as the one receiving it. So through this God has shown me that, sometimes we know the reasons why the other person is angry, and sometimes we don't. So when someone attacks you, hates you, despises you, mistreats you, etc, know this, even if you think you know them, you really don't. Only God knows them inside and out. Also, that hateful person who is abusing someone else could be YOU. Yes, you. Remember, I said that I've been on both sides of the aisle as hater, and hated. I've seen both sides of the argument, and it's helped me better understand it when people get frustrated or angry and turn on you like that.
That is why you are to pray for them. Perhaps they're in a bad situation, or Satan is tormenting them. Perhaps it's sin in their life, or bad decisions. Maybe it's just life dropping a gigantic cow pie in their laps. It may even be the result of God trying to burn the sinful behaviors, lusts and transgressions out of their heart, perhaps even turning their life so upside down as to finally make them realize their need for God. Yes, God poking at your heart can bring out some of the darkest things in you causing them to manifest externally instead of remaining hidden in your heart where nobody can see.
And as anyone who's been through that painful cleansing procedure knows, anger boils very near the surface during that time. Think of it like washing a car. I could be scrubbing down the vehicle, soaping it up, spraying it off, etc. Do I always walk away clean? No. How about dry? Pfft, good luck with that. I often end up taking an unwanted bath while washing my car. The same idea applies to people. Think of God as the car wash and the person who's angry at you is the car. As God is washing it, if you're anywhere near the car some of that dirt, water, soap and so forth is going to get splashed on you.
It's to no fault of your own. You just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And as anyone who's been through chastisement and judgment from the Lord knows that it usually hurts, and the more severe the chastisement or judgment, the more painful it is. And where there's pain we often look for an outlet for that pain, be it yelling, screaming, getting angry, etc, and typically that happens to be the closest, most easily available individual, which is usually you and I. Remember, car wash? Spraying soap and water? Is it your fault they're screaming mad at you? In most cases I'd say no. Sure, there's a few times we do monumentally stupid things and deserve the anger focused on us.
But the rest of the time? No, we don't deserve it. So therefore all that anger you took so personally, because it was seemingly directed at you, isn't really directed at you. It's their expression of anger at the pain caused by something they can't control. So you end up as the sounding board. THAT is why we need to do as Jesus said and bless those that curse us. Why? Because they need it. Yes, it sucks that we get dumped on like that, but they need our prayers far more than we need recompense for what they've done. Remember, they're reacting to something that's not your fault usually. Think back to the battles between Jesus and the Pharisees. Why did they react so angrily to His teachings? Well, His words were like a gigantic mallet between the eyes, exposing and chipping away at their sins. And, as stated above, anyone who's been through chastisement from the Lord knows how painful it is.
And what is our typical reaction to pain? Uh-huh. Starting to see the picture here? Don't be angry at those who are angry at you. Don't be hateful of those who despise you or use you. They're reacting to pain brought into their life from outside sources, either from God, from others, from the consequences of their own sins, from situations and sufferings in their environment, etc. In other words, they're hurting. And as such we need to pray ever so fervently for them, and on top of that be as kind and gentle and loving as possible, despite their anger. Love can win over even the hardest of hearts. So don't hate your enemies, or those who disagree with you. LOVE THEM. Remember, Jesus loved you even before you knew Him, before you ever bowed the knee before Him or were saved. Jesus even loved you BEFORE you were born, or even so much as a twinkle in your daddy's eyes.
That is why we should love our enemies, no matter how hard it is. Love them, bless them, pray for them, treat them kindly, respectfully, and righteously. So if you know of someone who has wronged you, is angry at you, hates you, or in my case, banned me on Facebook, and wants nothing to do with me, pray for them. I am. In fact, while I'm not sure if they'll ever read this, they can know with a surety that I am praying for them every chance I can, praying for them to be blessed, to be healed, to be lifted from their fear, to find a good church that will love them, for more money to help them survive and thrive, and so much more. Remember, don't take it to heart when your enemies hate you and curse you. So please, no matter how angry you are at them, pray for them, bless them, pray for their blessings.
One beneficial side effect of praying for the good of your enemies is it in turn heals your heart of any wounds that the other person may have put there. Remember the car wash example? It'd be like getting sprayed with a whole lot of dirt, soap and water, and then by blessing and praying for the other person, all those things are just wiped away leaving you clean again without any sign that you were unfortunately soiled by the car wash. So forgive, bless, pray for, love, and be kind to your enemies, and in time it may be that they not only become your friend, but if they are unsaved, you may in turn also gain a new brother or sister in Christ!