WHY DOES JESUS TELL US TO PRAY FOR OUR ENEMIES?
(By: Brother Joe)
(The following testimony was written to Joe's mother. Once you read it, the answer will become clear as to WHY Jesus tells us to pray for our [human] enemies).
Mom -- growing up, I was lied to by the devil that I did something to displease God, so I wanted little to do with God. And the sexual molestation that was done to me for 13 years, I believed it was my punishment from God for displeasing Him.
Our holding on to anger and bitterness is a close second most effective strategy of his. I now understand that, after many years of being held a prisoner in my mind and never realizing it.
In 2010, I went to jail for something I did to someone. While in jail after 207 days I came to Jesus and told Him I was sorry for what I had done, and I meant it. Soon thereafter my eyes were opened and all my hate for Him that was in my heart was gone.
(See - my hate was at God, because I blamed God for my grandma dying in church at 12:05 in 1988 in the afternoon at the end of a church service. I was 15 years old at that time. I also blamed God for my 13 years of being child molested in the first place, and I blamed God for my being in prison).
It took me coming to prison to know that God's love is unstoppable even if I don't want it. And there's nothing I can do or say to change that because God is the same and will not change. He loves us so much that He gave us His one and only Son Jesus ... when He didn't have to.
In 2012 my bunkie came at me with a blade and I had to put him in a pretzel hold instead of hurting him like I wanted to. My first thought was to take the blade and hurt HIM, but I humbled myself like God would of done.
In June of 2017, God put me in the same prison with the inmate that I got in a fight with in May of 2012. To top that off, not only the same prison but in the same unit. And to top that off the same eight-man cell!
And when I saw that it was him I asked God why and He told me, 'This is what you need right now, Joseph my son. I want to see how you handle it and this will show Me how much you love me by obeying my commandments.'
So before the day was out I went to him and told him that I was sorry and I asked for his forgiveness and he forgave me. And I forgave him. And told him, 'God bless you.'
Right before I left the last prison to come to this prison I was hit in the face by another bunkie. He found out about what I did to come to prison and he punched me in my face and I smiled. But on the inside I wanted to kick the day lights out of him, but I could not do so.
I know that because of my humbling myself that right then God took my heart of hate and gave me a heart of love, and now I am able to show love to my fellow man instead of wanting to hurt those who hurt me. When levels of anger start trying to get hold of me when I think of those who have hurt me, even though I've forgiven them, I now see that God wants me using His weapon of prayer: Praying for your enemies. It's an incredibly powerful spiritual weapon God has given us to keep bitterness from coming back on us.
Because of this I am not filled with anger anymore. I am filled with the love of God. Anger is no longer a part of my life, and looking back I know why I am at this point of my life. It is God showing me that no matter what life brings, He is there and He does love me, and He wants me to be a victor instead of a victim ... which is truly His heart's desire for everyone. But He has also revealed to me that we are in a battle with demonic powers whether we like it or not, and if we don't USE the spiritual weapons God has given us to USE to help keep demonic influence away from us ... we'll be victims of the devil more than victors in and through Christ Jesus our Lord and commander.
God gave me an AM-FM tape player recently. Then He gave me the whole Bible on tape. I traded my cookie and tots for 2-AA batteries. This was 2 ' weeks ago and I am still playing tapes. The batteries have allowed me to listen to all of the book of Matthew and the first three chapters of the book of Mark. I have learned so much from the book of Matthew and the first chapter of the book of Mark.
I hope that you see that Jesus lives inside me, Mom, and I now allow God to be in charge of my life and that I desire to please Him in all that I do.
If I can offer any advice to someone who is reading this other than you, Mom (In case anyone else does), do yourself a HUGE favor and ask God if you are holding on to bitterness (anger) against God, against others, and maybe even your country or an institution, employer, etc - or maybe even yourself. If you REALLY want Him to show you, He will. But with that comes your willingness to deal with it, to be set free from it.
I have come to learn that bitterness (anger) is a SPIRITUAL cancer Satan loves you to drink day in and day out, because he knows that it pulls you further and further away from God. Not only will it drive you further away from God and His Truth, it will trigger hate that can turn into rebellion - vindictiveness - and even insane rage in some. It can bring on sicknesses of all kinds, both physical and mental. It can hinder the favor of God from resting on our life, and ultimately lead us to hell if we don't deal with it the way God wants us dealing with it.
Recently (in 2017) a man shot innocent people at a western music concert in Nevada. Shortly after that a man shot innocent people during a church service in Texas. I can be absolutely certain that deep inside both of them, there were layers of bitterness undealt with. That bitterness was seeking an outlet. Killing innocent people and themselves seemed to be the best option. Satan's lie they believed.
God has provided mankind with only ONE WAY to drive back bitterness. It is His SPIRITUAL weapon of forgiveness. Forgiveness is for OUR OWN good, certainly NOT because someone necessarily 'deserves' it who has hurt us. Forgiveness frees us from drinking Satan's poison of bitterness. Forgiveness is like using a missile to destroy another missile coming straight at us.
Satan and the demons that serve him are now the most bitter creations of God. They know God will never forgive them, and they will never have what born again Christians will have for all eternity with God. And as long as God allows demons to influence you and I as the Bible says they are allowed to, they are going to look for every way they can to anger us so we take on a root of bitterness and then let it evolve into vindictiveness (revenge) like they have. WHY? To try to somehow get back at God. It is GOD they are the most mad at. You and I are just victims caught in between the battle of good and evil, but God wants us KNOWING how to become and stay victors in this battle ... not victims.
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15 NIV)
I love you so much, Mom. I thank God for you. I'm so sorry for all the pain I've caused you.
Your Son, Joe
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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)