What does this have to do with our recent theme of praying for and forgiving our enemies? Even enemies such as these need to be forgiven. We are commanded by Jesus to forgive all and to leave the vengeance to God. Whether it is men who fly planes into buildings or fire bullets into schools, or who hold three women captive for years. Whether it is presidents and generals who lead us into war, or drug traffickers and human traffickers, pedophiles or identity thieves, we must decide to forgive them. Having forgiven them, we must love them and pray for them. As I said earlier this week, it is one of the hardest things for a Christian to do.
For reflection: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:14-21, also see Leviticus 19:17-18, Deuteronomy 32:35, Proverbs 20:22).
Let us pray. Once again, Lord Jesus, I come to you for help. There are so many people who have not hurt me directly but I have judged them anyway because they have hurt people I know, or they have hurt my country, or they have become notorious for the things they have done. I want to forgive them. I do forgive them. I forgive them as you have forgiven me - fully, completely and without reserve. They are not mine to judge. You alone know their hearts and minds and why they did what they did. I place all of these people (name their names if possible) in your hands, Lord. They belong to you, not me.