devotion column Erasmus Makarimayi
ONE very basic and elementary teaching of the Bible is love. From as early as Sunday school, we are taught to love others as we love ourselves. This includes loving and praying for our enemies.
Love becomes key to Christian identity. However, certain teachings and prayers going on in some settings are what I may call witchcraft in the church. There are prayers commonly called “back to sender”. These are premised on vengeance, a desire by a so called Christian for evil to befall perceived opponents. It is quite interesting to find out what goes on when one
Christian sends fire to another Christian. If ever that prayer is answered, it is not the doing of the Lord, but witchcraft.
Many Christians agree with and confess Ephesians 6:12. It reads: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” They agree that their uncles and aunties can be used by the devil but their battle is not against their relatives, but the devil. No sooner that they have confessed that, do they invoke the wrath of God to befall anyone who wishes them bad. Scriptures commonly used are Psalms 35 and 109, which I ask
you to read.
Before we proceed, let’s recap. We have covered extensively that Jesus came in His earthly physical life during the subsistence of the old covenant or Mosaic law to fulfil it and redeem us from its demands. Galatians 4:4-5 records: “ But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Having done this we’re no longer under its demands. We’re free to serve God in Christ who gave us the law of life. Romans 8:2 asserts, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
We have also studied in this column the need to rightly divide the Word.
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Care, therefore, has to be taken in applying the Word especially on issues before the cross. There are issues that fall out after the cross, such as those the Psalms mentioned earlier. An example and simple case study is the Scripture quoted by Jesus when He declared His mission.
It comes from Isaiah 61:1-2. It reads: “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;”
Let’s see how Jesus refers to this issue. His words in Luke 4:18-19 read: “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Please note that, He doesn’t quote Isaiah 61:9 in total to include the day of vengeance.
So using vengeance of Psalms 35 and 109 is error. He came to redeem us. If you’re praying for the demise of your enemies, remember that God sent His Son to die for you and them. He would want everyone to be saved. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 declares, “ For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God wants the witch and murderer saved.
Going through Samaria where Jesus was unwelcome, His disciples asked Him to wipe out the village. Here’s the story. Luke 9:54-56 records: “ And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?  But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” In the Old Testament, Elijah called fire to destroy, under Christ, souls are saved lest what He came for and died for would be brought to nought. Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-44: “ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.