As I watch the Sunday evening news, well, any time I watch the news, there’s a whole lot of hate going on, especially spewing from the mouths of politicians and pundits. We hate and fear terrorists no matter what form they come in. Home grown, foreign or transplanted and regardless of religious persuasion. There have been numerous acts of terrorism in this country by mentally deranged American citizens. And so we hate them all equally, I suppose, because hate is hate. But what if we all turned that hate into prayer? I’m not a Biblical scholar but I used to teach Sunday School and lead a church youth group and I remember a few Bible verses such as this:
Luke 6:32-33 “Do you think you deserve credit for merely loving those who love you? Even the godless do that! And if you do good only to those who do you good—is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much…”
It’s probably not that good of us to pray only for those we love. I’ve thought a lot about this lately, because I do pray for those I love daily and also for those I believe need prayer. But lately I’ve added something to my prayers. I pray for terrorists in whatever form they may take, because THEY DESPERATELY NEED PRAYER.
Luke 6:36 “Try to show as much compassion as your Father does. Never criticize or condemn—or it will all come back on you.”
I pray that God will put someone in their path to show them his love and forgiveness and path to redemption, because that path is available to anyone who truly repents.
People do many evil things, but do they do it out of ignorance? Because they know nothing else because no one has shown them or because they think they have no choice?
Luke 6:35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them! … and you will truly be acting as sons of God, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are very wicked.”
We often mock missionaries, especially those who are captured, imprisoned or killed because of their work. “Didn’t they know it was dangerous there?” We ask ourselves. “How stupid of them to go into such a territory.” But what if…they converted just one individual who knew nothing about it before? What if their bravery and belief changed a hardened heart? And that changed individual then changed another heart. And so on.
After 911 I recall a speaker trying to make us understand how we are all mini-terrorists. Swearing or making lewd gestures at the driver who cuts us off. Using insulting or derogatory language. I am oh so guilty of this, and I REALLY need to stop and think about what kind of hatred spews from my mouth. I’m sure God is not impressed. I am trying very hard, and it is not easy, to say, “God, please watch over that careless driver in the blue car who just pulled out in front of me,” instead of using some choice language and hand gestures.
I can’t quote Scripture chapter and verse. I can’t articulate an argument for a religious cause. I’ll never be a missionary. But what I can do is pray for those who are my “enemies.” I can pray that someone will be put in their path to show them there’s another way. I can pray for those who do go into dangerous territory to share their faith. Adding a prayer for my enemies takes about fifteen seconds of thought and effort. A lot less than the haters whose speech is currently filling the airways. I’ll pray for them too.