How to prevent Bitterness

Following conflict, what keeps your heart from a negative focus? Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” Impossible! Unrealistic! No way! People can’t love their enemies … at least that’s the assumption. Yet, the Greek word agape, translated “love” in this passage, by definition means “a commitment to seek the highest good of another person.”  The “highest good” for those who are genuinely wrong is that their hearts become genuinely right. What can be one major catalyst for this change? Jesus provides the answer … Matthew 5:44  “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”Pray

Jesus prayed for His enemies while hanging on the cross, He prayed to His Father, “Father forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.” He sets the example after He taught this principle.

If you are saying, “but they really aren’t enemies,” realise that if someone evokes resentment, bitterness, or hatred, you perceive that person as an enemy to your spirit. Jesus gives the directive to pray for your enemies and it is not optional.

Because praying for your enemy protects your heart from bitterness, you should want to obey this directive in heart and in deed.  Therefor “bless” your enemy.  When you pray for your enemies you will inherit a blessing according to the Bible. 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” If praying for our enemies is what the Lord wants us to do, how do we do that?

An example is to pray Galatians 5:22-23 to everyone of your enemies: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Pray every attribute to everyone of your enemies and ask the Lord to bless them with these attributes. For example: “Lord, I pray that…..will be filled with the fruit of love by becoming fully aware of Your unconditional love and in turn will be able to love others.”

James 3:17 “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”