I suppose we all have them in our lives. I am referring to people who make us cringe at the very thought of them. Oh yes, the reasons vary. Some inspire this response because of their shamelessly poor treatment of others. Some cause us to feel this way because of the deeply held beliefs that are polar opposites to our own. Perhaps they are a little to willing to speak with a cruel sense of disdain about everyone and everything we care for, or they may literally be guilty of violent and abusive acts against us. Regardless of why they cause our blood to boil, our skin to crawl, and our desire to be merciful to evaporate, Jesus has instructions for us.
Pray for them. Bless them. Ask God to help them. Ask Him to forgive them. He does not command us to endorse their behaviors, beliefs, or attitudes. He commands us to pray for them.
In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, Paul makes a clear point. We, as followers of Christ, do not wrestle against flesh and blood. We wrestle against powers that are spiritual in nature. Remember that Paul was persecuting the church before he was leading it.
The violence that people are guilty of in this life, the abuse they perpetrate, the wrong beliefs they adopt and lead others astray with are real, and I am not dismissing them as not genuinely morally wrong, but our “enemies” are not our enemies. We must pray for our “enemies” because if we don’t, our true enemy will use our disdain, our cringe, and our unmercifulness to defeat us from the inside out.
When we pray for our “enemies”, we yield to our Lord’s will, and He grows stronger within us. In praying for them, we acknowledge that the enemy that inspires them and has a hold in their life and through their life is the same one who seeks to gain a control in our lives. The ONLY way to defeat him in our lives and in the lives of those we both love AND cringe toward is to yield to Christ and let His strength win.
Dennis is an affiliate of Tactical Faith and a dear Christian brother. If you would like to read more from Dennis, you can find his blog here at, defenselessagainstsuffering.blogspot.com.