With increasing unease, Paul listened to his friend tell about seven years of suffering in a North Vietnamese POW camp.
Ron’s captors had tortured him relentlessly. He described how he had been bound tightly for days and left in agonizing pain. “I heard someone far away, screaming through the night. Then I realized. It was me.”
Paul clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. Oh, how he wanted to do bodily harm to those who had tortured his friend so cruelly! His eyes blazed as he growled and asked Ron, “You felt that way, didn’t you?”
“No,” Ron quietly replied. “All through those days and nights, I simply prayed that they might come to know and love Jesus as their Savior.”
Paul’s anger rushed from him in a heavy breath. “Wow!”
Somehow Ron had seen his tormentors with a heart that looked beyond what they were doing. He saw their deep need for Christ and chose to obey Jesus’ command to love his enemies.
Few of us have suffered in POW camps. Yet at one time or another, we have all felt the sting of undeserved pain. Some of us–or those we care about–have suffered cruelty again and again at the hands of another.
We may want to lash back, but God offers a better way. Instead of stewing in our anger and biding our time to get even, we can choose to obey his call.
Focus: “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” ~ Matthew 5:44-45, The Living Bible.
How about you? Jesus said we will always have trouble in this world. But how might our lives and our world change if we chose to trust him by loving and praying for our enemies?