Bless Your Enemies

The joke goes like this: A woman was complaining to her minister about her husband. The minister asked, “Have you tried heaping coals of fire on his head?” (Prov. 25:21,22) “No,” she replied, “but I’ve tried hot water!” Obviously, she missed the point.

A friend was having trouble with her supervisor at work. She was reminded of what Jesus said: Love your enemies, bless them…(Matt. 5:44)

It wasn’t easy to ask the Lord to bless this woman who was so nasty to her, but my friend did. Not too many months later the supervisor was offered a better job for another firm. She accepted. Another outcome was that my friend’s attitude was changed.

The Bible relates a fascinating account of this kind of thinking. The King of Syria had tried time and again to kill the King of Israel, but each attempt was foiled by Elisha. When one of his officers reported, “Elisha, that prophet in Israel, tells the King of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom,” the invading king sent soldiers and chariots to capture Elisha. (Interesting note: How did the officer know about Elisha?)

When the troops were in position, Elisha asked God to “strike this people with a blinding light.” Now, that doesn’t sound like a blessing! Neither does what happened next. Elisha led them to Samaria. When Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men so that they may see,” God did.

How frightened they must have been when they realized they had been led to the enemy’s capital. Terror was added when they heard the King of Israel ask, “Shall I strike them down?”

They were Elisha’s captives. He had the power to kill them. How confusing his statement to the king must have been, “Set food and drink before them, and let them eat and drink and return to their master.”

Elisha stood in the gap for these enemy soldiers so their lives were spared. Israel’s resources were given to these men that when they returned, they would give a good report to their king. Also, if they were sent away hungry, people along the escape route would have been in jeopardy of being hurt or robbed. So those people, also, received a blessing.

Defeated soldiers needed something to take back to their king. A good report was better for the Israelites because the King of Syria “came no more into the land.”

In blessing the enemy with kindness, hospitality and concern for their physical needs, Elisha and all Israel were blessed with peace. The lesson taught: we can’t bless others without the blessing returning on us.

I wonder if the reverse is also true: we can’t curse others without the curse returning back on us?

Jesus knew that blessing our enemy would be hard, but doing this puts us in the same frame of mind as God. After all, He causes the blessing of rain and sunshine to fall on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). – – -Based on 2 Kings 6

Read about God’s point of view and the various reasons we are to bless our enemies in Forgiveness, God-Style by B. L. Wade.

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