Is anyone too far from the reach of God’s love and grace?
The Apostle Paul would say no.
His story is a classic picture of what it looks like to hate one’s enemies. Before his encounter with Jesus, his animosity toward Christians was extreme, and it drove him to think and act in violence.
Sound familiar? Today, many are witnessing the persecution of Christians by modern-day “Sauls”—members of ISIS.
But Saul’s is a story of radical transformation—a story that moved from death to life, despair to hope, violence to peace.
Saul is a perfect example of a man who thought he was doing the will of God. Many members of ISIS also think they are doing the will of God.
Pray that, like Paul, they would see the light of Christ. Pray that in the presence of Jesus’ light all darkness would flee, and that the light of Christ would expose all lies and reveal Jesus.
Saul was on a mission to zealously guard religion and persecute anyone along the way who threatened it. In light of this sort of persecution, Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” flies in the face of our human logic. Such love is foolish and unjust.
But such love is our witness to the world. It reflects the scandalous, sacrificial, redeeming love of Christ toward our enemies and persecutors.
Pray that the church wouldn’t just sit back and watch a physical war take place, but that they would fight with the most powerful weapons: prayer, fasting, and love. Pray that the church throughout the world would follow Jesus’ command to love and pray for their enemies.
“I had been leading prayer groups for the persecuted church, when one day God cornered me: You’re angry. He was right. I was angry with Muslim extremists for killing Christians.”
Read more about this field worker’s challenge to forgive persecutors and love her enemies in Love Your Enemies.