As much as I hate to admit it, there are people in this world who really dislike me. People who abhor everything I stand for.
Jesus warns that in this world we will face tribulation. (John 15:33) He bids us to remember that the world hated him before it hated us. (John 15:18) And He warns that our enemies may eventually even “deliver you over to be persecuted and killed, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” (Matthew 24:9)
Fortunately, I don’t know many Christian-killers personally. I know they are out there. I know they exist. They’re alive and active. I know many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who live in other countries are being persecuted and martyred even now for their faith. They’re having to live out on a daily basis Jesus’s instructions to love, pray for, do good, and bless enemies who quite literally would like to wipe them off the face of this earth.
But I haven’t had to deal with that kind of persecution. Not yet.
The most extreme kind of mistreatment I’ve had to deal with? People who are rude. Who whisper behind my back. Who spread lies about me or totally misrepresent things I’ve said or done or believe. People who leave mean-spirited comments on my blogs or scathing reviews on my books. People who assume the worst. Who take advantage of me. Who scorn, disrespect, or treat me as if I’m stupid.
How should we respond?
And as tempting as it may be to fight fire with fire, to defend myself or explain or qualify, to return tit for tat, or even to just dismiss such perpetrators as unworthy of expending any time or attention even thinking about the offense, Jesus outlines how He wants me to respond.
He calls me to…
love my enemies
“We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen….” (1 John 4:19-20)
do good to those who hate me
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)
bless those who curse me
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” (Romans 12:14)
pray for those who mistreat me
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
If our Christian brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe can pray for their persecutors, even as they are being slaughtered, can’t I offer a few kind words to my faultfinding neighbor, return a soft answer to the angry coworker, offer a prayer for the friend who no longer behaves like a friend?
More to Color:
I hope you enjoy this week’s Love Your Enemies Coloring Page. If you like to color, then come back again next Sunday for a new one. To download any of the pages I’ve published in the past, simply follow this link: Free Christian Coloring Pages.
If you’d prefer a bound collection, check out my Color the Word series. I designed these richly detailed, Scripture-based coloring books with grown-ups in mind. But they can be enjoyed by all ages. They’re even available in Spanish!
For those who enjoy journaling as well as coloring, my devotional journals offer the best of both worlds. Now with twelve titles to choose from.
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