So, here’s the thing: the imperative to love one another is a pretty loaded command. Jesus expands on this teaching throughout the gospels and specifically stipulates that this includes both people who are easy and hard to love. Not only are we to love our enemies, but we are to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:32-35).
This is something I rarely want to do, but it is exactly what Christ did. If I desire to be more Christlike and walk in obedience, then I must resolve to do the same. Ideally, in time and the more time I spend in His presence, God will align my heart to my thoughts and actions from the inside so that praying for those whom I’m up against just becomes a part of my core identity and not something which merely checks a box. Don’t get me wrong though, if your thoughts and heart aren’t totally aligned yet, do not let that preclude you from taking action and praying for your persecutors anyway.
We see above that “in His name all oppression will cease.” Notice the part that says In His name… From Scripture we know that whatever we ask in his name, will come to pass (John 14:13-14; John 15:16). This is great news for God’s plans and desires for us! When we struggle to love those above and beyond who are easy to love, we can prayerfully petition in Jesus’ name and excitedly anticipate that God will, in fact, help us to more broadly and inclusively love one another.
Using Christ as your model, take a leap of faith, and act in loving kindness to someone whom you’d rather not. If you are really struggling, ask God to help you in Jesus’ name. Repeat as necessary!
All hymns referenced throughout the series found in one spot. Some versions are traditional. Others…not so much. Enjoy!