Praying for those who hurt us – Acts 04:08

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

The Lord prepared His disciples on how they must answer the questions of the leaders, for their faith in Jesus.  

Matthew 10:19-20 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; (20) for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

It is the leading and the enablement of His Holy Spirit that the disciples would experience in a powerful manner on these occasions.  Peter and John began their response to the leaders in the most collected and dignified manner.  There was no fear, they were not being defensive and definitely, there was no ranting and raving.  There was an air of calmness in the way Peter and John responded.

This can be contrasted with how Peter responded to the questioning of the maid and others during our Lord’s trial. Matthew 26:69-74 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” (70) But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” (71) And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” (72) But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” (73) And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” (74) Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.

This is no ordinary transformation.  This is the amazing work of His Holy Spirit in the life of a blundering, frightened man, who was now speaking effortlessly, with confidence and respect, to his detractors.  

The Lord is calling us as His church not to be angry and retaliate against those who attack us and hurt us.  Romans 12:19-21 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. (20) Therefore “IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD.” (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It is the Lord who will take vengeance on those who hurt His people.  It is for us to be civil and give a refined response to those who may foul mouth us and physically bully us.  

We are sons and daughters of our Father in heaven.  We belong to Him and we represent Him here on earth.  Our behaviour, therefore, has to be that of our heavenly Father.  Matthew 5:44-45 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

We must be like our Lord Jesus, who when He was reviled did not retaliate, but committed Himself to the Father. I Peter 2:19-23 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. (20) For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. (21) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: (22) “WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH”; (23) who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

We represent God and in doing so, we put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, I Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—

Moreover, we are aware that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities in the heavenly realms, who have blinded their eyes. Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. / II Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, (4) whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

We pray that the eyes of these people who hate us, will be opened and that they would come from darkness to light.

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