This photograph is of a poster advertising a recent film, Triple 9. When I first saw the poster I was struck with the message ‘Never show mercy to your enemies’ and how it is in stark contrast to the message of Christ:
You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV)
As Christians we all face very real choices in life – either to follow worldly wisdom, or to follow God’s wisdom. The world tells us to hate and to seek revenge on those who wrong us, but God tells us to love and pray for our enemies.
Think of any film you have watched where the villians have received the treatment they deserved and if you’re honest you will probably have felt a ‘soft glow’ inside. We all recognise when justice has been given and we all are content when it happens. Of course a film isn’t real, so how do we react in real life?
I don’t want to underestimate the difficulty we all have in working this out in our lives. Jesus isn’t telling us to ignore justice, but he is telling us that our natural instinct can lead us to hating and failing to pray for those who need his salvation. Jesus’ words from Matthew 5 also remind us that God’s standard of behaviour is diametrically opposed to what the world expects people to do.
So rather than confrontation, seek God’s help to show real love for your enemies and to be willing and able to pray for those who persecute you.