“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (Matt 5:44-47)
The words above came out of the mouth of Jesus. He knows what he’s talking about.
There is another well known saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Did Jesus say that also? I don’t think so. From what I could find, the best answer was it’s an old English proverb. Whoever said it, whether they knew it or not, they were voicing the same thoughts that Jesus said in Matt 5: 44-47.
But when you are in the center of a virtual morass, more appropriate would be, “defend yourself!”When people or outside forces are attacking it makes more sense to stand your ground, defend, and fight back.
Let’s dig a little deeper into what the Bible says on this subject.
“He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 2 Kings 6:22 … Elisha’s answer to the king of Israel after the defeat of the Arameans.
“But Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.” Luke 22:48-51…Jesus restored the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest him.
“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.”… Jesus is unjustly being put to death, but he asks forgiveness for those who are responsible.
This is pretty radical stuff. I don’t think that Jesus is saying don’t defend yourself if someone is physically attacking you. But what He is saying is that there are many people in life that we consider enemies. Conditions, outcomes could be solved or changed by praying good things for that individual.
In the business world, clients owe you money but are not paying you…pray good things for them.
People are saying things, spreading tales about you that are not true…pray for them.
An injustice happens (you fill in the blank) to you that you do not deserve…pray for them or the situation.
That’s what Jesus says…” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
Heavenly Father, thank you for making this clearly evident to me on several occasions in my life…praying for people who are doing, creating things that are not good for me and my family. I have prayed and things changed. It had nothing to do with me humanly correcting the situation. Lord help me to remember your words in Matt 5, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”