1.) How to Pray: Christ taught us how to pray in the Lord’s prayer. He enjoined us to pray to God to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. See Matthew 6 v. 12. It is therefore inconceivable that Jesus Christ would approve of the act of praying for the dead or misfortune of an enemy or a transgressor. Equally, in Mark 11 v. 25-26, our Lord Jesus Christ enjoined us (the Christians), while praying, to forgive anyone whom we have anything against so that God may forgive our sins. He further stated that if we do not so forgive, God will not forgive us our sins. So, Christ requires us to forgive (not to curse or pray against) our transgressors and enemies.
2.) Forgiveness: Similarly, in Matthew 18 v. 21-35, Christ taught us (Christians) to forgive our transgressors. In essence, we are asked not to be tired of forgiving those who transgress against us. A person who imbibes this Christian value of forgiveness will not indulge in a prayer for the death of any person misfortune or downfall of another person (be he his enemy, transgressor or not). The said teaching of Christ is echoed in Matthew 5 v. 38-42.
3.) Love for Enemy: Jesus Christ taught Christians to love (and not to hate or curse) their enemies. In Matthew 5 v. 44-48, Jesus Christ commanded Christians to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you … “for if you love them that love you, do not even the publicans do the same?” See also, Luke 6 v. 27-35.
As a mark of love for an enemy, even in the Old Testament, we are required to protect, defend and save the property of our enemy which is in danger. See Exodus 23 v. 4-5. In further adumbration of the requirement of love (not curse) for our enemy, we are required to give food to our enemy if he is hungry and to give him water if he is thirsty. See Proverbs 25 v. 21-22, Romans 12 v. 20.
4.) Vengeance: The scriptures preach against vengeance, as vengeance is for God. So, it is not right for Christians to pray for the misfortune or death of their enemies as that amounts to vengeance which is unchristian. In Romans 12 v. 19-21, Christians are asked not to avenge but to overcome evil with good. Similarly, in 1 Peter 3 v. 9, the apostle Paul enjoined Christians to “render not evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing:” In like manner, in Romans 12 v.17-19, a similar injunction is given as follows: “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves.”
5.) Cursing and Condemning Others: The scriptures are replete with teachings of Jesus Christ and his apostles against cursing and condemning of others. The same scriptures could not have turned round to approve of the act in issue of praying for the death or misfortune of perceived enemies. In Luke 6 v. 37, our Lord Jesus Christ taught Christians thus: “ ….. condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven.” It is a godly virtue not to curse one’s enemies or to rejoice at their destruction. While recounting his good deeds/virtues, Job stated in the book of Job 31 v. 29-30 that he had neither rejoiced at the destruction of the person that hated him neither had he allowed his mouth to sin by wishing a curse to the soul of that person that hated him. In the same vein, in the book of Romans 12 v. 14, Christians are required to bless those that persecute them and not to curse them. See also, Ephesians 4 v. 31-32. Also, in Psalm 34 v. 13, the psalmist advised us to keep our tongue from evil. While teaching Christians to use the tongue for blessing and not for cursing, the scriptures in the book of .James 3 v. 8-12 state as follows: “ But the tongue can no man tame; ..Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceeded blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” Further, Ephesians 4 v. 31 states thus:
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you … “ It is therefore surprising that those people who use their tongues to curse, ask for the dear misfortune or down fall of their enemies still think that they indulge in a Christian act. That is far from being true. That act is contrary to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is therefore satanic. As stated earlier, one without the spirit of Christ is not of him. See Romans 8 v 9.
6) Rejoicing at the death/misfortunes of an Enemy: True Christians get embarrassed to hear people who claim to be Chrsitians stand befor the congregation to rejoice and testify that death or evil befell their enemy as a result of their prayers or some other cause. This is because that act is unchristian. In Proverbs 24 v. 17-18, it is recorded as follows: “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.” See also Job 31 v.29.
Uwom wrote from Port Harcourt.