So, as Christians, in today’s society, we are often thought to be judgemental, hypocritical and homophobic. But what are Christian philosophies, really?
Well, at the very heart of the Christian philosophy of how we should believe and behave are 5 words. And Jesus said them:
Love God… Love your neighbor… (paraphrased from Lk 10:27, Mt 22:37-39, Mk 12:30-31 )
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Simple idea, but not always easy to accomplish. And later Jesus added that we should pray for our adversaries.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Mt 5:44
Hmph. What a concept.
Imagine that. Praying for your enemies. Is anyone out there praying for ISIS? Are any Democrats praying for Republicans or vice versa? Are Christians praying for those who are pro choice and pro death penalty? And what about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – are their Christian detractors praying for them, or simply complaining about them and insulting them and criticizing them?
Imagine if each one of us, no matter what ‘side’ we are on, no matter our beliefs, convictions, propensities or affiliations… what if we decided to pray for our enemies and our opponents? And they for us?
Oh my gosh. What would happen?
You don’t have to feel love for them, necessarily, at the get-go. Just maybe don’t hate them. And then pray for them. How radical is that? What could change?
At the very least, praying for someone persecuting you can bring you a measure of peace. Giving the problem over to God, acknowledging that fighting back is not going to solve anything, casting your cares unto God, can bring immense relief.
To be clear, in a physically violent situation, self defense is warranted. I’m not advocating our military put down their weapons and pray instead. Or that if you are being physically threatened, you should not defend yourself any way you can. I am referring more to the arguing, the bickering, the slander and meanness especially as seen in the atmosphere of our current election process. Friends are becoming foes over serious disagreements on policy and social issues and I am suggesting we might do well, instead to pray for a change of heart for those we disagree with.
Jesus was, really, the most radical of all in introducing this new philosophy. He said don’t fight your enemies. Pray for them. He had a modest upbringing and grew to be a humble servant, and a benevolent, forgiving King. In those days, he was as radical as they came. No one expected someone like him. The Israelites were praying for a warrior to come fight their battle. But Jesus came in peace, with peace. AS peace. Strewing peace in his wake wherever he went. Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…” Jn 14:27 He prayed for his enemies and he held his peace. It’s no coincidence, I think, that these two things went hand in hand.
To sum it up: Praying for -instead of fighting- your enemies = increased peace in your life.
And who couldn’t use more of that?
For a more in-depth look at what the bible has to say about peace visit http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2013/08/31/top-10-bible-verses-about-peace-with-commentary/
What do you think:
Can approaching hatred and opposition with peace and prayer really work?