pray for those we’d like to hate

“We can lose our souls while we’re trying to serve God if we become instruments of hate instead of love.”

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The above sentence jumped out at me in Rebecca Hamilton’s blog today. God is love. Jesus loved us so much he suffered and died for us to take the punishment that we deserve—not because we’re so lovable, but because He loves us. He tells us to love others the way he does.

Even when we’re unlovable, God’s love for us doesn’t change. And what was it He tells us to do?

Jesus said, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)

Who is this neighbor I’m supposed to be loving up and what does that look like?

  • The friendly lady across the street?  CHECK
  • Visitors in town who are looking for a restaurant recommendation? CHECK
  • The people who gossip about me and mine? MUST I?
  • The radio commentator who calls my beliefs uneducated and stupid? UM
  • The politicos who seem to have a disconnect with the real world as I know it? MEH
  • The anti-Christians, anti-Americans, anti-everything-I-ams who are spread around the globe? OH, COME ON!

Wait a minute! I don’t really know or interact with a lot of those people. I guess I’m off the hook.

Think again. Just before Jesus died, He prayed for the opposition, the haters, the manipulators…

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24 (NLT)

Readers, do you want to join me in a prayer experiment?

The next time someone ticks you off, makes fun of you, hurts you or someone you love, cuts you off in traffic, hurts anyone else, chants “Death to Americans!”…add them to your prayer list for the week.

The choices are: HATE or PRAY. By praying we show God’s love even when we aren’t feeling much like loving. And I think the language we use in these prayers will be important—instead of a listing of grievances, let’s offer up a listing of those who need to feel God’s love.

We may never know if it has any effect on them, but I think it will change us.

 

 

 

 

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