“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
(Matt. 5:44, NIV).
Guest post by Kristi Woods
Think about someone who hurt you. How did you love or pray for them? Or, did you?
As a mother, I love and protect my children. When someone wounds them, my mama bear instinct roars. I want to peel back the fur and watch those razor-sharp claws swipe.
But emotional reactions like that don’t come from Jesus. They usually arise when we’re attempting to play God.
A few years ago, while driving home from a school event with one of my kids, I received an unexpected phone call from a classmate’s mother. She accused my daughter of bullying and made harsh statements about her. Unfortunately, my daughter sat in the passenger seat and well within earshot. My mama bear instinct stood ready to rip and roar, but I sucked in a breath and prayed silently, Help, God!
His truth guided me through that phone call. I recalled Jesus’ words about praying for those who persecute us, which includes mamas protecting their children. God’s guidance to be quick to listen and slow to anger (James 1:19) rushed to mind as well. I fought the urge to lash out, using patience, truth, and prayer to battle instead.
Afterward, I prayed for that mother and both children—myself, too. It wasn’t easy, but it was right. And God used those prayers to soften my heart.God uses prayer to soften the heart. @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet
She and I didn’t realize that both our children were facing difficulties adjusting at school. As new transfers the year before, they were still attempting to find their footing. What seemed a situation of “enemies” ended quite differently.
Loving those with whom we clash or praying for people who persecute us feels awkward and hard. But God can be trusted, even when praying for our enemies.God can be trusted, even when praying for our enemies. @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet
Do you have an “enemy” or someone persecuting you or someone you care about? How can you love and pray for them today?How can you love and pray for your enemy today? @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet
We can experience joy, even amidst relational conflict, misunderstandings, and regardless of how others treat us or respond to us. Joy comes not from any external influences but rather from God’s Spirit as it gains influence within us. To learn how to cultivate this precious gift Christ promised all of His followers, watch out for our next Bible study, Unshakable Unbreakable Joy, releasing soon!
Get to Know Kristi:
Kristi Woods is a speaker and author who loves to see women walk deeper with God Almighty. She invites others to join her in the faith journey. Kristi blogs regularly at http://www.KristiWoods.net as well at other publications and online sites. Her written and spoken messages invigorate women to walk deeper with Him, to leave behind a life of Sunday pew-sitting, becoming Monday through Sunday worshipers. She and her handsome, retired Navy man reside in Oklahoma with their three eager teenagers, rescued dogs, and two sometimes-at-odds cats.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.