FORGIVE YOUR ENEMIES
Lord, many have spoken against me.
Read PSALM 109
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 My God, whom I praise,
do not remain silent,
2 for people who are wicked and deceitful
have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
3 With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
4 In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer.
5 They repay me evil for good,
and hatred for my friendship.
6 Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
and may his prayers condemn him.
8 May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.
9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven[a] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord,
that he may blot out their name from the earth.
16 For he never thought of doing a kindness,
but hounded to death the poor
and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse—
may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing—
may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment;
it entered into his body like water,
into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers,
to those who speak evil of me.
21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
may those who attack me be put to shame,
but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
- Psalm 109:10 Septuagint; Hebrew sought
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Forgiveness is difficult, but wonderful. Thank God for His forgiveness today.
This is an Imprecation Psalm, one in which the psalmist hopes that an evil person may be found guilty by ‘someone evil’, whom he also calls ‘an accuser’ (6). When oppression, evil, and godlessness are cut down, the Lord is actively establishing His rule over the earth because of the built-in obsolescence of human structures. Forgiveness is possible, but some habitual sinners may find true repentance difficult. The author asks God to ‘remember’ past sins (14); they ‘remain before the Lord’ (15). The author seeks revenge on his enemies.
How different is this from the testimony of Stephen who, while unjustly condemned and stoned, cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’ (Acts 7:60). We who stand on this side of the crucifixion and resurrection are all called to love our enemies and forgive them, as Stephen did.
In Khandamal of the state Orissa in India, Christians were being tortured and killed, pastors murdered, and churches burned by the Bajrang Dal in 2008. When the Christians went back to their villages in 2012 they had resolved to forgive those who harmed them and to share the love of Jesus with them. Now, the churches have been rebuilt, evangelists are trekking into the hilly areas to preach, and many new churches have sprung up. Two of those who were the most violent persecutors have found the Lord and have become ardent witnesses for Him. The major Hindu persecutor accepted Christ and is preaching about Him. He is called the ‘St Paul of Khandamal’. God is still performing miracles.
Forgiveness is the mark of a Christian. How can we show it in our lives? Jesus said, ‘But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’ (Matt 6:15) Our forgiveness is therefore conditional.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will give you grace and help you to learn to forgive those who have wronged you.
Lord, forgiveness is so precious. Teach me how to operate on Your level of forgiveness.