Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 14
January 13, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<406> Thesis: Pray for those who demean you. Introduction: The Kingdom of God is to be established in righteousness. This means that when it is finally set up by Jesus, it will be composed only of those who have bought into the fundamental premise that people ought to treat one another "justly". But, "just" treatment stems from a greater issue: who is considered to be "of greater value". It is a natural thing for people to treat those who are important in an inoffensive way unless there is a competition for that importance. So, one of the foremost characteristics of the heirs of the Kingdom of God is that they reject any and all competition for greater value. This is the way it was before Satan decided to initiate such competition with God; this is the way the Gospel presents the issue; and this is the way it will be once both Satan and the entire body of his rationale have been revealed to be wicked and have been given a "just" response. When Jesus came down from the mountain, He began to teach His disciples the true nature of the Kingdom of God. He began with a contrasting set of "blessings" and "woes" and then immediately moved into the most problematical issue of the Kingdom prior to its establishment among men: how to respond to those who have not bought into its most fundamental foundations. This would be those who reject the truthfulness of the statements of "blessing" and "woe". Jesus calls these rejectors "your enemies". And His fundamental thesis is this: you cannot embrace the fundamentals of the Kingdom of God and not practice them in the kingdoms of men. This boils down to a two word answer to the question of how to respond to those who are "rejectors", or "your enemies": "Love them". Our problem is this: what does "Love them" mean in real, every day, interaction? So, Jesus set about to tell us. "Love them" fundamentally means "put them above yourself in terms of the question: who is most valuable here?" Then, He began to give specific examples. When someone hates you, do good to him. When someone wishes for you to perish, wish for him/her to become a genuine instrument of God for good. And, when someone "mistreats" you, pray "for" him/her. There are more instructions, but it is to this one -- "pray for those who mistreat you" -- that we have come in our study. What does Jesus expect us to say to God in prayer in regard to those who "mistreat" us?