But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
— MATTHEW 5:44 —
Jose Carlos Angeles Fernandez: Word of Grace Biblical Seminary | Mexico
In 1952, Jim Elliot, with great expectations, set out as a missionary to the Indians in Ecuador. A year and a half later he married his bride, Elisabeth. About two years after the wedding, Jim and four other missionaries were speared to death by the Indians they were trying to evangelize. In an amazing display of Christian love, Jim’s widow, Elisabeth, decided to stay in Ecuador with her baby daughter to continue the work her husband had begun. She sought salvation in Christ for the very people who killed Jim. It is the desire to please God, no matter the cost, that makes it possible to obey the command to love our enemies. Elisabeth and a sister (Rachel Saint) of another of the martyred missionaries served faithfully in the work of evangelism. Over time, God used their efforts to bring to saving faith some of the Indians who had participated in the massacre. What kind of love does one need to do something like that? What prompted these women to speak of salvation to those who had killed their beloved family members? It is only Christ who can do something like that in the hearts of people. It is the desire to please God, no matter the cost, that makes it possible to obey the command to love our enemies, look for their welfare, pray for their salvation, and even renounce our own personal comfort and safety to take the gospel to those who persecute us. How unbelievable are God’s ways! Our natural reaction would be to seek revenge. God’s way is to convert a former enemy into a dear friend. We try to destroy. Our Lord wants to build. We would retaliate instead of evangelizing, but God wants to save. O Lord, help us see things from Your perspective!