Pray for the bad guys

I am reading ‘The President’s Keepers’ by Jacques Pauw. It is insightful and shocking to say the least. I am not getting upset or cross while I read because the things that are written are in the past. They have happened and I can’t change the past no matter how hard I try. I am reading the book in order to understand why the situation in the country is as it is. I want to understand how the politicians and their associates think. Even though there is nothing I can do about the past, there is something I can do about the future.

I can pray.

Last week I heard a gentleman say that the churches have it all wrong because you shouldn’t be praying for corrupt politicians as they aren’t going to change. Matthew 5:44 – ‘But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you.’ That statement Jesus made is so profound I think I should read it every day just to remind myself what prayer is all about. In the next chapter (Matt 6:9-13) Jesus gives his disciples The Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father. It’s lovely and most Christians know it off by heart. What we choose not to read though is verse 14 and 15 which state the following, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Therefore we aren’t only called to pray for our enemies but we also have to forgive them.

If someone is cursing you, hating you, spitefully using you or persecuting you, you are called to love them, do good to them, pray for them and forgive them. Are you doing all these things because you approve of what they are doing or because you excuse their behaviour? Not at all! You are setting yourself free from the bondage that holding a grudge or living with unforgiveness brings. You are asking God to set you free so that you will be able to live your life to its full potential. Living with unforgiveness makes you sick. It’s like hanging a potato around your neck on a string. At first you feel the weight of it all the time but after a while you actually get used to it. Then, you start to smell something and much to your dismay the potato has started to go rotten. It is in your nostrils all the time and you can’t even get a good night’s sleep because of the stench. You can’t get rid of the potato and the smell unless you cut the string. Cutting the string is forgiving the person for whatever they have done to you and then praying for them. Who benefits from the string being cut? The potato is still in the same state it was. It’s not going to suddenly revert to being a good potato. You are reaping the benefit because now your friends won’t mind being around you again, you can enjoy life and sleep well at night.

So, we have to love and do good and forgive and pray irrespective if our ‘enemies’ are politicians, criminals, acquaintances or our brothers and sisters that we had a disagreement with. What will God do then? In Psalm 35 David is speaking to God about the people who are trying to kill him. Verse 5 says “And let the angel of the Lord chase them.” I believe if we do the things that the Bible tell us to do and if we earnestly see the Lord and put Him first in our everyday life, He is going to make our paths straight and we can say, “Praise the Lord, O my soul! It is well with my soul! 

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