Matthew 5:43-48 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?
Westboro Baptists became famous as a hyper-Calvinist group known for engaging in inflammatory homophobic and anti-American pickets. They would show up to military funerals, gay pride marches, atheist-Jewish-Muslim gatherings, and churches they disagreed with, having bull horns declaring, ‘God hates you!’ One church heard they were coming to their Sunday gathering to yell at their congregants as they walked into the church. What would you do if you heard the Westboro Baptists were coming to spew hate at people you love? This church decided they would show the Westboro Baptists an antithetical picture, revealing the one true God as found in Jesus Christ, who taught us to love and pray for our enemies. They made signs out front that said, ‘Welcome Westboro Baptists!’ They put out tables full of breakfast items along with coffee and water. They then prayed inside for God to open their hearts to seeing His love in Christ.
All of us have lived as enemies of God and God still loved us and gave Himself in self-sacrificial love to try to win us to Himself. In a ‘cancel culture’ time of offense, Christians must cling to Christ for His abundant love to flow into us and renew our minds. God’s people allowing Christ to rule over their attitude, emotions, and mindset is what preserves a culture and gives it hope for progress. People are not listening to the other side anymore but prayer while serving needs with Christ’s love has the power to make people think twice. Jesus will reward the faithful whether they see a positive response or not.
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us while we were yet enemies. Jesus thank you for your self-sacrificial pursuit. Holy Spirit, empower us to reflect the love of Christ and to pray for our enemies, in Jesus name, Amen!