“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Matthew 5:43-45
While I was growing up we had a blue Chevrolet Astro Mini-Van as our family vehicle. I thought it was awesome. And this was before CD Players and DVD players were in vehicles.
One of the places that our Astro Mini-Van would take us to quite often was White Water. I haven’t been to White Water in years, but for a kid in Cobb County, Georgia in the late ’80s to early ’90s, White Water was the coolest place ever.
On one particular visit, something happened to our van. We came out to the parking lot after a great day of riding water slides and playing to discover that someone had trashed our van. There were raw eggs, watermelon and all other sorts of nasty foods smeared all over it.
My first thought was to find whoever was responsible for this and beat them to a pulp. It didn’t matter to me that I was a slow, chubby 3rd-grade kid. Someone had hurt our beloved mini-van and I was ready for a tussle.
So, I was shocked when my parents gathered us around and let us know that we were going to take some time to pray for whoever had done this to our van, right there in the parking lot in our swimsuits, while people passed by. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
But they explained to us that we were supposed to pray for people who do things to hurt us. It was one of the hardest prayers I ever had to pray. But I am so thankful now that my parents taught me that lesson that day.
I have had to come back to that lesson a lot over the years as a reminder to pray for people who try to hurt me. Let me encourage you to do the same. When we pray for our enemies, God does something in our hearts, resulting in strength that revenge could never provide.