43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Voice from the Church
“I have seen Christians in Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonsful of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold—and praying with fervor for the Communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.” (Richard Wurmbrand, 1909-2001)*
Undoubtedly, most reading this meditation have never physically suffered at the hands of Christ’s enemies. I know some who have. If you haven’t endured physical abuse because of your Christian identity, possibly you have experienced verbal and emotional maltreatment.
My wife and I support a native missionary in Africa. Each time he goes on a mission into Muslim controlled territory, he solicits our prayers for the success of the gospel and physical protection.
I pastored a lady some years ago, who occasionally upon arriving home after attending church faced a boarded door—her husband refusing to allow her to enter her own home.
Could it be that we (I) have fewer enemies because we are a little ashamed of Christ and some of his words? It makes me wonder. Do we pray for those opposed to us and others?
Should persecution rage and flame,
Still trust in thy Redeemer’s name;
In fiery trials thou shalt see,
That as thy days thy strength shall be.(John Fawcett, 1739-1817)**
*Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ, Kindle Edition.
**From “Afflicted Saint, to Christ Draw Near” by John Fawcett.
November 17 devotional from . . .
WellSpring: 365 Devotional Readings
copyright © 2018 Ralph I. Tilley
(paperback and Kindle editions available at Amazon.com)