43 “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 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. (Matthew 5:42-45)
One of the hardest things Christians are called to do by our Savior, Lord , and Master, Jesus Christ, is to pray for our enemies and to forgive them. Thanks to the Muslim terrorist attack at the Pulse night club on June 12 in Orlando we have a lot of people to love and even more people to pray for. Several days ago a pro-ISIS group published a hit list of more than 8,000 names they planned to murder, 600 of them live in Florida. We also know that a Muslim scholar, Farrokh Sekaleshfar, pronounced a death sentence on homosexuals while speaking at an mosque in Orlando FL.
The horrific actions by ISIS and their agent Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a security officer with Department of Homeland Security contractor G4S, cannot be described as anything but pure Satanic evil. one that Omar Mir Seddique Mateen must answer for, and unfortunately he cannot repent of his sins and instead is going straight to judgement
28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28-29)
The victims could have been anyone, ISIS has declared war not only on homosexuals, but on Jews, Christians, atheists, and even muslims that they disagree with. They are our enemy, and they make it difficult to love them. As John Piper says
“We do not hate God’s judgment. That is just and wise. But we do hate the evil that leads a person to oppose God and incur his judgment” (What Jesus Demands from the World, 224).
But we also need to pray for those poor demented souls that are using this horrific tragedy to advance their own paltry political aggrandizement as they foolishly blame this Muslim attack on Christians. To a rational person, slaughtering defenseless individuals is unfathomable, almost as unfathomable as blaming someone completely innocent of this wrongdoing for causing it. It's like blaming Eunice Hyon Min Rho for the death of my dog.
We can't just shift gears and love those that enjoy slaughtering us and our families, or those who puff up their ego by persecuting us. It's against our nature as humans. It's something we are commanded to do over and over but it's just so hard. Our only hope for loving our enemy is to be a new creation in Christ. And our only hope for being a new creation in Christ is to be reconciled to God through the death of his Son.
Jesus taught that every disciple who makes his faith known is going to pay some price for it, and that we are to pray for those who exact that price from us. Spurgeon said, “Prayer is the forerunner of mercy,” and that is perhaps the reason why Jesus mentions prayer here. Loving enemies is not natural to men and is sometimes difficult even for those who belong to God and have His love within them. The best way to have the right attitude, the agape love attitude, toward those who persecute us is to bring them before the Lord in prayer.
We may sense their wickedness, their unfairness, their ungodliness, and their hatred for us, and in light of those things we could not possibly love them for what they are. We must love them because of who they are-sinners fallen from the image of God and in need of God’s forgiveness and grace, just as we were sinners in need of His forgiveness and grace before He saved us. We are to pray for them that they will, as we have done, seek His forgiveness and grace. (John MacArthur, October 22, 2014)