Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Mathew 5:44
To love and pray for our enemies can seem like a pretty steep request, don’t you think? After all, when someone we love tramples on our heart or when we are betrayed by a so-called friend, our first reaction is not necessarily to love and pray for them. On the contrary we might feel more inclined to put on a pair of steel-toed boots and give our enemies a nice swift kick, hoping to knock some sense into them.
It’s taken some time but over the years I have come to understand and appreciate the spiritual principles of Mathew 5:44. God’s call for us to love and pray for an enemy in no way excuses the action or behavior that caused them to make it onto our enemy list to begin with. Instead, loving and praying for an enemy allows us to embrace the struggle, rise above it, release any bitter stronghold their wrongdoings may have had on us and begin to heal. It gives God the room He desires to deal with our enemies on our behalf.
Pray for Them
Recently while studying about growing in confidence and overcoming self-doubt, God brought something to my attention that surprised me. Intangible feelings like self-doubt, frustration, anxiety, insecurity and disappointment to name a few, belong on our enemy list as they are enemies of our soul. In fact, these emotional enemies are often a greater detriment to our well-being than any wrongdoing person our enemy list.
I had never looked at it that way but the more I considered this possibility and reflected on how various uncertain emotions have hindered my well-being at times, I realized it was true. To love and pray for our enemy does not just apply to hurtful people but it applies to the emotional enemies of our soul. Fortunately, God has given us the power to recognize and pray for these types of enemies.
For example, when intense feelings of insecurity rise up, it’s not that we are expected to love that feeling, but we can embrace the fact that the feeling of insecurity is present.
We can acknowledge that this emotion belongs on our enemy list and we can pray for that particular enemy with powerful words such as: I may feel insecure right now but “I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.” Romans 8:28.
When that familiar, unproductive feeling of self-doubt shows up we can confront it and pray: I may not believe in myself right now but this is just a feeling and feelings pass. I have no reason to doubt because, I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Ephesians 1:3-8.
Whether your enemies are hurtful people or negative emotions when you pray for your enemies, your obedience to God’s request will open the door for healing, breakthrough and a beautiful transformation. Now that’s a worthy request, don’t you think?