43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
This verse has been going around my head for at least a couple of weeks. I’ve even shared it with a couple of people, so I thought I’d share some thoughts I’ve had.
First, I’d like to think about ‘those who persecute you’. This may not be a physical persecution. Then again maybe it is! It may, however, be someone who you just don’t like. You know those people who just irk you off, who rub you the wrong way? My famous phrase for years was ‘They just get up my nose hairs.’ I know Tim Aho is laughing right now 🙂
Why is it important to pray for those who persecute you or who you don’t like? Because it will change YOU! Go figure that one out. Why when you pray for someone else to change does God always remind you of the many things that need to change in your life.
My guess is if you are anything like me your prayers will go something like this ‘Lord, change THEM. Help THEM. Make them be nice to ME!’ You know what’s going to happen though? Your heart will soften and God will change you.
So don’t pray unless you want to change, but the irony is that we are commanded to pray for them.
I think we serve a wise and loving God. I think I have a lot to learn.