Editor’s Note: This is a guest contribution by Melissa of Priez Pour Dzhokhar, a French blog with a similar mission and subject matter to Christians United for Jahar.
It is understandable to find it difficult to pray for someone who has committed such a terrible act of terrorism, but we also benefit from such prayer practices. When we pray for our enemies God also grants us his grace. An act of humility puts our mind and soul in peace. Revenge is a powerful desire, but love is the only cure for hatred. A problem can not be solved in the same way it was created. When you pray for your enemy, you begin to take an interest in their spiritual welfare. You no longer see your enemy as abstract target of aggression, but as a fragile human being, created in the image and likeness of God who has flaws, just like you. They are your brothers and sisters and deserve your love and forgiveness, as God loves you and forgives you
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:17-21
Our natural tendency is to hate people who do evil things. Our natural tendency is to host bitterness in our hearts toward them, and want all kinds of evil against them. It takes guts to love your enemies. It takes courage. It takes determination. It takes strength, but more than anything, it takes faith.
Jesus spent much of his time on earth among the outcasts, those who were considered the scum of humanity at the time. For example, the tax collectors and prostitutes. He did not see these people as being beyond love or redemption. Instead, he said he came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10), and does not drive away those who come to Him (John 6:37), but it is in Matthew 5:44 he tells us to love our enemies.
Personally, I have never seen so many people pray for someone, much less a criminal and one of the perpetrators of the worst terrorist attack in America since 9/11. Most certainly God doesn’t do anything for something, everything that He does or allows serves a very special purpose, be it that we may not understand it amidst terror and destruction. We can, however, rest assured that it has served something somewhere.With that said we can be assured that God has a plan for Dzhokhar’s life even if he doesn’t know it yet.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
We may rest assured that our prayers are heard and that at the right time, God will fulfill what he has promised. Not only will Jahar become a new creation in Christ, but God also blesses us for doing His will in obedience with scripture and we will also reap the rewards of having a new brother in Christ. When Jesus walked among the sinners and the tax collectors, he said that it isn’t the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, and we know who here needs a divine prescription.
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. – James 5:15
May we not forget the worth of God’s beautiful creation; one lost sheep, the one that the good shepherd would go out to seek even if that meant leaving the 99 others behind.