“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28 This is a hard teaching to swallow. What does Jesus even mean by that? Does he want us to be a pushover? To let people bully us? Don’t we need to stand up for ourselves? Doesn’t blessing someone who hurts us condone their behavior?
What about someone who intentionally competes with me, someone who steals my idea and passes it off as their own? Or when someone tries to ruin my name by defaming my character with baseless accusations? I am not only supposed to pray for them, but bless them as well? I just don’t know if I can do it, I don’t even understand how this is just.
These are all common thoughts surrounding the teaching of praying for and blessing our enemies. It hardly makes sense in our ego minds. The ego part of our mind wants to protect us, to defend us, to hold on what is ours. It thinks, “I can’t pray for enemy’s success because then there won’t be enough left for me” or “I can’t bless the person who is out to hurt me, she will think that I am a pushover and continue to think she can walk all over me.” Both of which are understandable conclusions. They are also conclusions based in fear. A fear of scarcity and not enough.
“When we refuse to freely give, we demonstrate our allegiance to the world’s narratives of scarcity and fear.” The Good and Beautiful Life
When Jesus calls us to pray for and bless even our enemies, he isn’t at all saying that we should be unwise and allow ourselves to be abused or mistreated. Jesus lived a life that practiced a perfect example of Godly boundaries. He also wasn’t a pushover, Jesus was always honest and direct with his accusers, but he always communicated in a way that diminished an argument rather than escalated it. You can pray and bless someone from afar, you don’t need to stay in toxic situations and simply take abuse which is often the confusion associated with this verse: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.” Luke 6:29
Jesus isn’t literally making a new law that says you have to accept abuse, especially when it is an ongoing, chronic situation. Ultimately, Jesus is trying to teach us how to have a Kingdom posture of the heart. He is teaching us a better, higher, more intelligent way to deal with conflict. As Ghandi says, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” That doesn’t seem very smart. Jesus came to obliterate the oppressiveness of the law of justice, and replace it with a new law. The law of love. God is love and love is bigger than all of our circumstances or enemies. Love doesn’t seek revenge or retaliation, even in our thought life. Love asks the question, “How may I help you?” Love covers all wrongs.
Jesus is teaching us to have a heart posture of trust, love and generosity. Here is why this teaching is empowering:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. If someone is asking or demanding something from you or even plotting our demise, a heart posture of love would ask them, “how may I help you?” Even ask it in your own mind at first, then you will begin to see that person through a clear lens of compassion, which could even reveal to you the reasons that anger, hate and bitterness fills their heart.
The things your enemies do to you usually have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. They are projecting their own dominant thoughts, insecurities, woundings and beliefs on to you because you represent something they are not. Therefore, they see you as a threat. To me, that gives so much understanding to Jesus perspective when he was dying on the cross and still said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing.” Luke 23:34.
People who are hurting you legitimately are blinded by their own self and feel justified in their actions. Those people definitely need prayer. And you can be thankful that you get to be the one to intercede on their behalf.
When you have a heart posture of trust, that means you trust that God will protect you. When you trust that He is true to His promises to you as a Daughter of the King, you are elevated to such an anchored state of your royal identity, that no attempts to attack you will cause you to waver. “God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved.” Psalm 46:5.
“Love your enemies and be patient with those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven; for he makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous….Be perfect (spiritually mature) as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48. When we pray for and bless our enemies, we are vibrating at God’s frequency because we are in alignment with His nature. We are doing what Jesus did.
When you trust in God by doing the Kingdom thing rather than the easy thing, you are operating within the Kingdom and He can easily abide in you, empowering you to be strong. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. God’s Kingdom is not in trouble, that means you are not in trouble. So trust God by doing the right thing and you will not be in trouble.
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” Luke 6:30. When someone tries to take from us, it can happen in many forms. From demanding money to stealing an idea, to stealing your dignity, or wrecking opportunity through vengeful tactics. But rather than having an attitude of retaliation, have a gratitude for how Jesus will take care of you. God is the God of the past, present and future and no one can steal anything when you are hidden in the shadow of His wings. No one can take from you what you freely give. So be at peace with your generosity, knowing that you are the daughter of the abundant Creator the Universe.
Disarm the person trying to steal from you by having a heart posture of fearlessness. You do not display fear by clutching on tightly to what the physical world gives or lowering yourself to their frequency with revenge. You don’t get solutions at the same level of the problem. Love is higher than all problems. So if they want your contacts, give them your contacts generously, knowing they can’t steal anything that God will not redeem. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Today, just try it. Pick the person or people in your life who are mistreating you and pray for them, pray for God to bless them…and just see what happens in your heart when you do.