God sends all kinds of people into our path of life: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and many more.
Sometimes these people in our life are super lovable, super fun, just plain super to be around. But let’s be honest, some people are not very easy to like. How do we like the unlikable? We are going to figure out today how to love the unlikable.
It is really easy for us to say, “What would Jesus do?” But if we don’t know what Jesus did then how do we answer that question.
When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He was giving instruction on how to live. He was blowing the minds of the people that were listening, especially the people that lived strictly by the law. For the whole sermon go to Matthew 5-7.
What did Jesus say about people we don’t “like”? The “I” in this verse is Jesus talking.
"You have heard the law that says, 'Love the neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Wow. That is totally counter culture, even today. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
I have to say that I am guilty. Do I pray for the people that persecute me or even the people that irritate me? Honestly, I think that we hope the other person will change. We think there is clearly something wrong with them if we don’t like them.
I have to be honest here. I have prayed for people to change and for other people to see their own flaws. For them to be nicer or easier to get along with. But pray for them in the sense that Jesus is telling us to pray?
Maybe we have not prayed for them to change. Maybe we have completely omitted prayer and we are just mean to someone or equally irritating.
God has a purpose for us. It is for us to change. It is for us to have a transformed life. It is for us to be more like Him. This is why He instructs us to pray for others.
What happens when our prayer for our family member, co-worker, or neighbor is for us to love them more? What happens when we pray for God to change our hearts to show His love and not our own? What happens when we pray for God to let us see people with His eyes and not ours?
We begin to love them like He loves them. We begin to see the beautiful creation that He has given us. We begin to praise Him for the people that He has put in our path.
You may be saying, “You don’t know what that person did to me.” You may be thinking, “You don’t know how bad this person is.”
You are right. Trust me; I have to rely on God to change my heart. I have to use the power of the Holy Spirit that resides in me to change me to see people the way He sees them.
If you still think this is impossible, let us look at this story.
You may be familiar with this story. It is about a man who was taken in the middle of the night. Guards came in the night like a thief and took Him away. One of His closest friends betrayed Him with a kiss to the cheek and sold Him out for thirty silver coins.
Not guilty was the verdict by the local government. The local people, however, hated Him. He was spit upon and stripped of His clothes. They beat Him within an inch of His life to the point He was barely recognizable. People surrounded Him shouting, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.”
After all of that, He was forced to walk through town carrying the cross that would be used to hang Him to death. He had nails put through His hands and feet to keep Him in place. He had a crown of thorns crushed onto His head.
And don’t miss this part. As He hung on the cross for all to see, do you know what He did?
He prayed for you and me.
He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”
He prayed. To His Father, he prayed for them. He prayed for us.
How could Christ be in the position of death, death of the most humiliating kind and pray for me? Pray for you?
So if you are asking yourselves right now, “How can I pray for them?”
Because He did it for you. Because His love for us came first. He will give us love for them but we need to take the step and ask for His help. We have to pray to look beyond what the eyes see, what our feelings say, and look to Christ to do what He does best. To Love!
Here is where you begin to transform. Take five seconds. If it takes that long. Think of one person that just gets to you. One person that makes you grit your teeth when you think of them. Pray for them. Pray for God to give you a new outlook on them. Pray for their family. Pray for their job. Pray for the stresses in their life. Maybe it is just simply saying their name and laying them before God.
Do this all week. Come back next week and tell me how it went. Good, bad, or everything in between. Let us know. Encourage us with your comments below and Share so others can be encouraged.
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