Jesus said it best in the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” They are challenging words to say the least. As I have reminded others to pray for Pastor Blackburn, whose wife’s life was cut short by a shooting this week, and his family, someone reminded me to pray for the person who committed this horrible act. What a reminder. I am thankful for such reminders to pray for and even love those who may cause us harm. It’s such a difficult lesson, but one that Jesus taught.
As we remember in our prayers those directly affected by violence and those who are grieving, let’s not forget about those who commit such actions and pray for them as well. Those who are incarcerated need our prayers. Those who are living with the reality of crimes and even murders committed need our prayers. Sometimes we need the nudge and gentle reminder to pray for those who commit such crimes, those we might call our enemies.
Let’s pray for those who have committed terrible acts and those who might even be considering such violence and terrible things, that God’s Spirit will lead them into the pathway of peace.