Being obedient is not always easy. Take for instance Jesus’ instruction that we love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). In fact, Jesus not only tell us to love our enemies but bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us and pray for those who persecute. That is hard to swallow, and I do not think I am alone. Many Christians join the call to be salt and light, serve others and share the gospel. Still, Jesus said we should love our enemies and this is not the only time this kind of love is found in the Bible.
In Psalm 35, David asks the Lord to fight against those fighting him. However, David mentions that his clothing was sackcloth at times when his enemies were ill (Psalm 35:13 KJV). David was also in prayer for them, while humbling his soul with fasting. In other words, David responded to the situations of his enemies the same way we do when members of our churches are ill. That makes sense because David says in Psalm 35:14 that he behaved himself as though his enemy had been his friend or brother. How do church members view one another? They see them as friends or siblings.
I have written about this before, but love does not just mean a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. Love is not just an attraction that includes sexual desire and or the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship. Love, according to Merriam-Webster, also means “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.”
When David prayed for enemies that were ill, David loved his enemies. When David fasted for his enemies, David showed unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. Remember, Jesus tells us to bless those who curse us, do good to them that hate us and pray for those people. That is what David was doing for his enemies. No, David was not a perfect person, and he later conspired to have a man named Uriah killed in battle to cover up David’s impregnation of Uriah’s wife. It was not until the prophet Nathan came and gave David a fiery speech and sermon illustration that David acknowledged his sins and repented (2 Samuel 12:1-13).
David got wrapped up in one kind of love and lost focus of the other. We often focus on one thing Jesus says while ignoring the other instruction. I do not know you, and I am not familiar with your situation. However, attacks will occur. Persecution is going to happen and already has for many Christians. We should respond by loving our enemies. If they show up on our doorstep with signs saying we are horrible people, let’s take them a bottle of water and use the same constitutional right to free speech to share the gospel. When a renowned atheist is on his or her deathbed, pray for them to be healed and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The same can be said for those who have Christians thrown in jail. We should ask God for them to have encounters with Jesus and serve Him in the same manner as the Apostle Paul. I have no proof of this, but I believe someone was doing just that for Paul prior to his conversion.
Go forth today and love your enemies. It will not be easy. Some days, you will not want to try. If that is you, pray for Jesus to help you. Meanwhile, know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). It is only impossible with me. With God, all things are possible (Luke 18:27).