Friend or foe?

Many Psalms talk about “enemies.” How does a Christian pray these psalms? Who are our enemies? How do we face them today?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book “Psalms: The Prayerbook of the Bible,” writes that the enemies spoken about in the Psalms are those who stand in opposition to God’s cause. Anyone who stands against God deserves his judgment. The Psalms encourage us to pray that justice would be served.

But, before we get all high and mighty and pray for justice for everybody who has ever harmed us we should remember that each one of us stands opposed to God at times. Each of us stands as enemies of God when we live in sin. Each of us deserves the judgment that God pours out on sinners. The strength of the law should not lie on somebody else, but on myself first. Sorry for my sins, I turn to God’s grace, trusting in Jesus for forgiveness.

It is a gift of God’s grace that he moves us from being His enemies to being His friends. Psalm 23 reminds us that He has brought us across the divide and sets a place for us at His own table. Instead of being enemies on the outside, the cross of Jesus has made us God’s friends. We’re insiders because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Since we have been made to be friends of the Savior, the prayer of the Psalms encourages us to also pray for those who are still far from Him. Not for their judgment, but for their salvation. So, Jesus teaches us not to respond to enemies in judgment, but to pray for their salvation. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Dear Jesus, you’ve made me a friend though I was a foe. Draw all people close to you! Amen!

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