Let’s continue our “Graduate Level Christianity” by looking closely at some of Jesus’s toughest teachings - His relational commands for us, most of which are found in Luke 6, verses 27-36.
Thus far we’ve looked at Jesus’s commands to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to bless those who curse us. Next, Jesus tells us to pray for those who abuse us.
Before looking at how to pray for our abusers, let’s be very clear about what is not being suggested.
We are not suggesting you remain in an abusive relationship. Nor are we suggesting you don’t get help from government authorities to protect you (Romans 13:1-5). Nor are we saying that you should never seek Christian counseling to deal with the pain of the abuser. Nor are we promoting that you should never confront your abuser to allow his abuse to remain hidden.
What we are suggesting is for Jesus’s followers to obey His teachings. He said that His disciples should pray for their abusers. How should this be done?
We pray for our abusers in much the same way as we bless them. We release them to God, trusting their judgment to Him.
We pray earnestly for their repentance - that they will come to understand the tremendous harm they’ve caused and stop doing it.
We pray for our abuser to be forgiven by the same Lord who has forgiven us. We pray they will receive salvation by grace through faith and not spend eternity separated from Jesus.
Praying for those who have hurt us, especially in abusive situations, may be the most difficult thing we ever do. But we press on in prayer, knowing that Christ’s strength in us allows us to do all things (Philippians 4:13).
And as we are obedient to Jesus’s command to pray for our abusers, something supernatural happens. We have now opened the floodgates of heaven to receive God’s blessings for us.
Life doesn’t get any better than when that happens!