Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my plea!
Answer me because You are faithful and righteous.
My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You.
Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.
Rescue me from my enemies, LORD; I run to You to hide me.
In Your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes,
for I am Your servant.
(Psalm 143:1, 3, 8, 9, 12)
This psalm of David’s carries a familiar theme: crying out in anguish, praising the LORD, calling on Him for help.
After reading this psalm, I pondered it for a while, then formed my own prayer based on David’s. “Please guide me in Your ways, LORD, and destroy my enemies.” Even as I said these words, though, this last bit caught in my throat: “destroy my enemies” David had said it, right there in the last verse of the psalm: “Destroy all my foes.” He was begging the LORD, as I then was, to take the hells away. ….But did I really want Him to destroy them?
I pondered this a bit longer: these hells that I wanted the LORD to destroy, who were they? They were people, too. I pictured some dirty, scary, evil-looking beings like what I might’ve seen in an illustration somewhere. These were people, though, who’d made poor choices and ended up in hell. Nevertheless, they were part of His creation. And if they were part of His creation, and He doesn’t create anything inherently bad, He only creates what He loves – that is to say, He loves everything that He creates,….. then, by definition, He loves these evil spirits, too. I’d known that, theoretically – “The LORD loves everyone.” It had been a bit of a platitude up to that point, though, because in that moment it dawned on me how He loves everyone. Equally. He doesn’t just like some, love some others, and kinda not really like others much at all, and He doesn’t only like us when we’re behaving well: He loves us ALL, each and every one of us, 100%, all the time, passionately, unconditionally. WOAH.
No one can deny that in God we find love and wisdom together in their very essence. He loves us all out of the love that is within Him, and He guides us all out of the wisdom that is within Him.
Divine Love and Wisdom 29
…The LORD shows mercy to everyone, loves everyone, and wants to make everyone happy forever.
Secrets of Heaven 904
Ok, so He loves everyone, including evil spirits. What of it? What does that have to do with me? With that realisation, I suddenly didn’t want my foes to be destroyed because I would be wishing ill on something that the LORD loves – and that would hurt the LORD! I certainly don’t ever want to hurt the LORD, so I quickly curtailed my prayer: as much as I want my foes to go away, I choose not to pray for the destruction of these beloved creatures of His, but rather for their removal and restraint.
Another aspect of this concept that the LORD loves everyone is the sudden – admittedly humbling and embarrassing – “A-ha!” moment of “Who am I to think that the LORD loves me, a ‘good’ person, more than one of these evil foes??” All of a sudden I was penitent and ashamed for having put myself on a pedestal like that. How selfish of me! He loves everyone. Equally. He loves us ALL, each and every one of us, 100%. There aren’t loopholes in His love.
This realisation pointed me down another rabbit hole: if the LORD loves everyone, including the ‘baddies’, and the LORD wants us to emulate His life and love others as He loves them, then I should love my enemies, too. I’ve certainly known about ‘loving our enemies’, and have thought of it in terms of my human adversaries or those of whom I’m not particularly fond, but this was taking it to a new level: I should love the very hells that torment me. That might be really hard to do – they are, after all, royal pains in my behind and the cause of everything that ails me – but maybe it wouldn’t be so hard, because loving them is exactly what they don’t want! Our hells want us to be miserable, to feel unrest, melancholy, discord, hate towards one another – they want nothing to do with love. If I love them, then….. Wow, that’ll make them squirm!
…The nature of good is such that nothing at all evil or false can draw near it. Nor thus can any member of the hellish crew do so; that crew flees far away when good draws near.
Secrets of Heaven 6423
This whole thought process brings about a new perspective on these hells, for me: now I can feel a kind of sympathy and sadness for them, to have brought themselves so low, to be living such a nasty existence, forever. The LORD loves everyone, and I want to do the LORD’s will, to love as He loves, so I will strive to love all my enemies. As He teaches us in His Word,
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.