'PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU.' MATTHEW 5:44 NIV
A soldier made it his practice to end each day with Bible reading and prayer. As the others gathered in the barracks and retired for the night, he'd kneel by his bunk. Some of them saw this and began to mock him. But one night the abuse went beyond words. As he bowed in prayer one soldier threw his boots and hit him in the face. The others jeered, looking for a fight but here was no retaliation. Next morning when the booth-thrower woke up he couldn't believe what he saw. There at the foot of his bed were his boots, polished and returned. Imagine shining the boots that kick you! That calls for a new level of grace. It means deciding what your response will be before the offense comes! Some of the guys in the barracks were leaders, motivated by pride and insensitivity. That's how darkness responds to light. Others were followers; they weren't necessarily bad, just weak and afraid to be different.
Why did Jesus pray from the cross, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do? Because He understood that people who have been raised a particular way, which is driven by certain forces, who, wrestle with unresolved issues and fears, which are programmed with an unregenerate mindset, need God. And He saw it as an opportunity to put God on Display. This requires more than Sunday-go-to-meeting religion. It calls for a Christ-like, example-setting, love-displayed response that makes others to sit up and take notice. Your rights and your wounded ego are not the issue; the One you represent is!
Evangelist Philip Jegede’s Reading Courtesy of DWFT: Jer 1-3, Luke 2:41-52, Ps 59:1-8, Pr 14:21-22 www.mpbs247.org