from Called to Conquer
Monday, October 3
Your Enemies May Not Know Better—Pray for Them
Today’s Scripture Reading: : Matthew 5:38–48
Key Verse: Matthew 5:44–45
I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
Each time you refuse to forgive, you are actually being selfish. Have you noticed that the people who hurt and offend others the most are usually hurt themselves? They are so wounded inside that they lash out against you and everyone else as a form of protection. When you cling to an offense, you are focusing on yourself and not on the offender.
My three brothers and I rarely talked with my father because of the resentment we felt toward him. My daddy was a strict disciplinarian, and we thought he did not love us. When Daddy suffered a stroke, I finally got up enough nerve to talk to him at the hospital. I was in my early thirties by then, but it still took a lot of courage for me to ask him this question while he was lying in bed: “Daddy, why did you treat us the way you did?”
Daddy looked up at me with tears in his eyes, and he began to describe his childhood. I did not know that my father had left home when he was only fourteen years old. Nor did I know that he had had to raise all of his eight brothers and sisters by himself. He told me that his daddy stole his car, threw him out into the street, and took his money. I had no idea that my dad’s father never hugged him.
My father cried as he told me what had happened to him, and immediately the Holy Ghost said, “Here is a seventy-year-old man who has been locked up for seventy years, not knowing any better and doing the best he can.”
In that brief moment I received an instant release, and I began to feel sorry for my dad. He had gone through life not knowing how to love my brothers and me, even though he wanted to. He did not know how to touch me. He wanted to, but he could not.
Some of the people who hurt you may be jealous or afraid of you. That is why God commands us to pray for our enemies—they are hurt. That releases Him to step into their lives with supernatural power and straighten out their pain and rearrange their minds. Pray this prayer with me:
Holy Father, I forgive my debtors and those who have harmed me in any way. Bless them, restore them, heal them, and redeem them. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.