Tuesday, April 05, 2011

An Urgent Call to Love our Enemies

By Hazel Holland

Recently I've been receiving, and continue to receive, repeated "pictures" in my mind of the face of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. I believe that these images that continue to interrupt my normal thought processes throughout the day are God's way of calling my attention to the desires and purposes of His heart for this leader, and for all those who have been schooled in a similar cultic mindset.

Although the ultimate desires of Ahmadinejad’s heart are to kill all Jews and Christians, and destroy the western way of life, purposing to bring the world under Shariah law, the desires and purposes of God's heart towards him are not to harm him, but to bring him a revelation of the agape love of God that will ultimately change his heart. God's ways are far higher than our ways. God does NOT want to kill and destroy this man or any other man, because God does not coerce people into His kingdom. Rather, God loves all people and wants to save them from eternal separation from Himself.

As I've been asking God about all this I keep receiving reminders from Scripture like: "Love your enemies... pray for those who despitefully use you, etc.!" God's desire for us is in the body of Christ is to love and pray for our enemies, because they are people for whom He died and wants to save, heal, and restore to Himself.

This has got nothing to do with politics. It doesn't matter if we are republicans or democrats, conservatives or liberals, leaning towards the left or towards the right, or anything else in between, we are first and foremost called to be God's children. This has got nothing to do with where people stand on the positions President Obama is taking on Libya, Iran or any other place. It's not about taking the side of any human leader who espouses ideas and beliefs that we feel most comfortable supporting, but rather choosing to be on God's side... ultimately the winning side.

This is an urgent call for those of us who know God personally to lay aside our own personal fears of persecution and Shariah law coming to America. Apparently it has already made inroads into some of our courts and banking system in various places, striking fear into the hearts of those who clearly understand the goals of Islam.

This is a call for us in the body of Christ to lay aside our own personal needs, and our American way of life, and to seek first God's kingdom and what is on His heart. This is a call for us to love and pray for those who want to kill and destroy us. Most certainly we cannot do that unless we get God's perspective on them, and receive His heart for them!

The Nations are Our Inheritance

The Scriptures tell us that the nations are on God’s heart. The nations are on God’s heart because all the nations are His inheritance. He died for all the people on planet earth. “Ask of Me” the Father said to the Son, “and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth Your possession” (Psalm 2:8).

This means that all the people in every nation that do not know the Father's heart for them are also His inheritance! He died for all, but we know from Scripture that not all people will respond in repentance towards God, and allow themselves to be broken by His goodness for them.

Since every one of the Father’s promises that were made to the Son will be fulfilled, we can be sure that this promise given to Him will be fulfilled, also. For every one of God’s promises are “Yes!” in Christ. But we need to ask Him for the nations. They are our inheritance, too. I was born in England, but have the people of England been born in my heart? Now I live in America, but have the many people of America been born in my heart?

Let’s bring it closer to home. These nations that are our inheritance are made up of diverse people of many races and different ethnic and cultural groups. They belong to different faiths, and worship God in a variety of different ways… especially here in America where freedom of religion has allowed both Jew and Gentile alike to peacefully co-exist side by side for many years.

Before 9/11 those of us living in America generally felt “protected” and insulated from the violence that we have witnessed from a distance in the Middle East over the years. However, that feeling of security appears to be dwindling fast. As we watch the nightly news we see people within the Arab world taking to the streets and calling for revolution—a revolution they hope will destroy Israel, along with the western way of life. We witness oppressed and angry people who want to take down and overthrow their own respective governments as well as ours.

Naturally these signs of turmoil and unrest in the Middle East bring about a certain amount of apprehension into the hearts of people here in America. We’re afraid that these protests could spread into our country, and bring the collapse of law and order here, and our American way of life.

So let’s get to the difficult questions. Why are we more afraid of losing the comforts of our American way of life than we are afraid of seeing people from radical Islam sell their souls to the enemy? Which is more important to God’s breaking heart—the comforts of our American way of life, or the salvation of their lost souls? You already know the answer. God first needs to change the hardness of our own hearts before He can ever use us to change the hardness of theirs.

So unless we as believers radically repent of clinging to our material world and the American way of life, God will do whatever it takes to shake us loose from placing our faith in our nation’s strength instead of in His strength. Although America has been a great melting pot where people from every nation have come to find a safe haven—that is changing fast. Many from within and without the melting pot want to destroy the pot.

Does this mean that the many freedoms we have enjoyed in the America way of life are slowly coming to an end? Is God allowing this so that we as believers might place our faith in the One who alone can bring us real freedom? Have too many American believers put their faith in the glory of their nation equating it with the glory found in Jesus Christ alone?

If so, then we need to repent of this idolatry and get our priorities back in order. If we fail to repent and choose to wash our hands of the responsibility we have as Christian to be His witnesses, then doesn’t it mean that we are not His after all? Although we have professed to be His, we are actually turncoats! We are on the wrong side!

The command given to us by Jesus to "love your enemies"—whether they are the enemies within our own households, or within our own state or nation, has been given to us because agape love is the chosen method that God uses to reach people’s hearts. For only agape love can break down the wall of fear and separation that exists, preventing people from knowing God’s heart for them... and hearing the truth of the gospel.

I believe that as the church receives more of God's heart, and begins to express God's agape love in radical ways towards those we consider our enemies, and begins to boldly pray for His will to be done in their hearts, some who are now Saul’s will eventually become Paul’s! Our love and faith in God will storm the gates of hell and snatch back those whom Satan has wrongly deemed as his property.

People like Ahmadinejad need to have their hearts broken by the agape love of God just as much as we do as believers. This is what repentance is all about. God is calling people everywhere to repent and turn away from sin. He's calling the church to repent for our lack of faith in expressing God’s love in authentic and tangible ways towards those who need to see it the most... those we consider enemies of the gospel. And He's calling our enemies to repent of the evil in their hearts towards God’s children because evil begets evil. Only God can bring good out of evil as people are brought into the light of the cross and see God’s goodness expressed towards them while they were unrepentant sinners.

May the love of God so fill our hearts and minds that we will willingly choose to lay down our own agendas, and instead begin to carry the burden that is on God’s heart—the many people in nations like Syria, Libya and Iran who do not yet know the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ that can conquer the hardest hearts!

1 comment:

  1. Had a dream not too long ago where I was going to hear a false teacher so I could take notes and write articles about why he was wrong. I do have a burden for people to be able to discern the Truth from the lie. But I was early, and he came out to the auditorium and no one else was around. I found myself at the front there, reaching out to shake his hand, and instead gave him a hug. I woke up thinking that was very silly, but I know God wanted me to see that he was a person that HE loves, and not just a talking head...and that God wanted me to have that same love for him, even as I am compelled to speak the truth.


Be blessed in His heart today! His heart is for you!