I’m realizing that, the more I watch the news, the more people I find to dislike. We live in a time where people can voice their opinions more freely than ever before. This can—and should—be a good thing. But, unfortunately, it also has many negative aspects.
The news and media continually platform people with extreme views to stir up disagreement and anger from even the most reasonable viewers. And, like I said, this gives us more people to misunderstand and ultimately dislike.
So as Christians, how do we respond in this volatile world that we live in? How do we respond to those who think or believe differently than we do? (Especially the ones that are so vocal and in-your-face about it?)
Jesus actually dealt with this Himself. There were many people and religious leaders in the days of Jesus who believed differently than Jesus did. There were many who were vocal about it and spoke poorly of Jesus. What did Jesus do? How did He respond to these kinds of people?
In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus shares some challenging words: “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.”
Are we loving our enemies and praying for them? And if we do pray for them, what are we praying? I’m convinced that, when Jesus said to pray for our enemies, He didn’t mean to pray for something bad to happen to them.
I’ve talked a lot lately about the fact that God’s Kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. Meaning: He desires for us to live opposite of how the world tells us to live. Right now, the world seems to be telling us that we just need to be louder and more aggressive than those who oppose us. But Jesus tells us to humble ourselves; to speak love instead of hate; to pray for our enemies instead of cursing them or gossiping about them.
Jesus didn’t change the world by putting everyone down and waging war against those who opposed Him. He changed the world by humbling Himself and laying down His life for ALL OF US in love. Jesus didn’t just die for those who were for Him. He died for everyone, even those who opposed Him—even those we might consider our enemies.
Lord, help us learn to live the way You desire for us to live—The way You lived. Help us learn to love our enemies and to pray for them in a way that honors You and shows Your love to a world that so desperately needs it.