Believers and Non-Believers
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:44).
There is a lot of conflict in this world, but some of the most intense conflict for believers comes from those who do not believe in Christ.
Non-believers often hurl insults at believers and persecute them severely in some cases, even within families, so how can we resolve the conflict in our lives with those who want nothing to do with Christ?
Jesus gives us the supreme example of this in Matthew 5.
To begin with, He says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10), and “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matt 5:11).
That’s a hard thing to do isn’t it? When we have evil spoken against us, even falsely, we naturally want to defend ourselves, and trade insult for insult, and some believers do, but here’s how Jesus wants us to resolve this conflict.
He says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:12).
Even more, Jesus tells us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:44-45).
What happens is when we begin to love those who hate us and pray for those who curse us, the hurtful words of persecution begin to lose their sting. We see them through the eyes of God and think about Jesus who died for us while we were still His enemy (Rom 5:10).
This makes us more like the “sons [and daughters] of [our] Father who is in heaven.”
We do realize, don’t we, that God sends the rain on the just and the unjust, so we too should be like the rain, having no discrimination against those who hate us, for we were once as they were. That’s a mindset that allows us to resolve conflict, even if it’s for our faith in Christ.