Don’t attack! Bless!

What a surprise it would be if the American presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney stopped attacking and started blessing each other.

Sound ridiculous?  Well, Jesus asked us to do just that.

In Luke 6:27-28, he says:

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

My first thought on reading this is to say to myself: “That’s a very nice thought.  But it’s not practical.”

But isn’t it?  Did Jesus just say that to catch our attention?  Or, did he mean it?

I think he meant it.

I was reminded of this recently while reading Prayer Evangelism, a thought-provoking book by Argentine-born evangelist Ed Silvoso.

Silvoso urges us to pray God’s peace and blessings on those around us, even people we don’t like.  He says this can be life-changing – for us and for the people we pray for.

At the end of the book, Silvoso tells of a Christian conference he attended in Manila in the Philippines in the late 1990s.  Many pastors had gathered together to discuss reaching the nation for Christ.

During the meeting, the participants agreed to pray for the President of the Philippines and to write out blessings which would be given to him.  Most of those present had not voted for him and were even critical of him.  There were questions about his character.

A huge pile of written blessings was given to a cabinet minister who came to accept them.  She asked for prayer for the president.

The following day three members of the president’s family came to the conference and became believers.  The President himself invited Silvoso to come to the presidential palace to talk about prayer the next time he visited Manila.

I am sure this whole experience changed how the pastors thought and prayed about their leaders.  It certainly changed the lives of some members of the president’s family.

Jesus spoke those words directly to me about loving my enemies and blessing them.  He is not saying that I will change someone else by doing this.

Yet a life of blessing others can’t help but show.

I have heard stories of people who were transformed as a result of friends and neighbours praying blessings upon them.

Jesus’ words are 2,000 years old – but they’re as life-giving today as they were then.

 

 

 

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