If you read my “Giving Up & Taking On for Lent 2017” post (linked here), you know that this year I’ve given up chocolate again and have committed to reading a chapter of Scripture everyday. I just finished reading the book of Matthew, and today I’m sharing one of my favorite verses from the book. If you haven’t read one of my “Scripture Sunday” posts before, I usually share a verse (or a few) that have been speaking to me lately along with some interpretation of that into my life. You can read my four previous “Scripture Sunday” posts here! If you are offended by the Christian religion, by all means continue scrolling and find a style post that strikes your fancy. Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s get on with my fifth installment of “Scripture Sunday!”
Matthew 5:44; But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
I think it’s only human to be angry and want to return the cruelty when someone is unkind to you. Over the past few years, I have had a few instances in which I truly thought someone was a good friend of mine, only to hear that they make comments about how annoying I am, that they make fun of my blog, or that they tell our mutual friends that they just flat out don’t like me, all behind my back. My school issues MacBook Airs to all of the students each year, and the kids would pull up my blog in their downtime in class and make fun of it while I was in another class. For a while, I would become so upset upon hearing things like this. I would avoid eye contact with them and spend the day questioning what I ever did to them. I still hear things like this, and it still stings. This time a year ago, I spent a few months in a bit of a blogging hiatus, trying to decide if blogging was worth what others were saying about me. Finally, I realized just how much I missed blogging and that I shouldn’t give up on something that brings me joy just because someone doesn’t think it’s “cool.”
For months I avoided contact with these people who would talk about me. I knew most of these people wouldn’t dare to say anything to my face, but I hated the awkwardness that came with being in their presence, knowing they didn’t like me or thought I was weird because I did something different. Nowadays I don’t avoid these people as much, but I certainly don’t openly approach them, expecting to have a pleasant conversation either. When I recently came across this verse during my daily Scripture reading, I decided I would include these people in my nightly prayers. The verse says “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Love your enemies? Pray for those who persecute you? At first I stopped in my reading and looked up. I thought about this verse for a few minutes. I recalled a time when girls were mean in elementary school and my mother would tell me the same thing, to pray for these girls that they would find the happiness they were seeking out by taking mine and have a change of heart. I don’t know why I ever discontinued this habit, I think it’s a good one to keep. Though Jesus teaches forgiveness, you don’t even have to forgive someone to pray for them. Maybe add in to that prayer “and help me forgive them too.” When I think someone is beyond my forgiveness, I have to remember that Jesus asked God to forgive the very people who cheered for His death and nailed Him to the cross. Nothing I endure will ever amount to the pain He endured for this world, the least I can do is obey Him and attempt to forgive those who hurt me.
This week, try to pray for your enemies. Pray that they find the Lord, and if they claim that they already have, pray that they find a deeper meaning of the world “Christian” and that they grow closer to Christ and find the kind example that He has set for them. (I’m not perfect either, and I know that I have hurt others but would still call myself a Christian, so I’m not trying to imply that anyone who has ever wronged you doesn’t follow the Lord – they could have simply had a bad day, pray for that too.) Pray that you follow His example too, and can forgive them.
Thanks for reading. Have a blessed week!