In the days of the Revolutionary War there lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, a Baptist pastor by the name of Peter Miller who enjoyed the friendship of General George Washington.  There also dwelt in that town one Michael Wittman, an evil-minded man who did all in his power to abuse and oppose this pastor.  One day Michael Wittman was involved in treason and was arrested and sentenced to death.  The old preacher started out on foot and walked the whole seventy miles to Philadelphia to plead for this man's life.  He was admitted into Washington's presence and at once begged for the life of the traitor.   

   Washington said, "No, Peter, I cannot grant you the life of your friend."  

   The preacher exclaimed, "He is not my friend-- he is the bitterest enemy I have."   

   Washington cried, "What?  You've walked seventy miles for the life of an enemy?  That puts the matter in a different light.  I will grant the pardon."  

   And he did.  And Peter Miller took Michael Wittman from the very shadow of death back to his own home in Ephrata -- no longer as an enemy, but as a friend.    

   As Christians, Jesus commands us to show mercy and compassion on those who dislike or persecute us.  In His teachings, Jesus remarks "But I tell you who hear me:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you...  Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:27-31, 35b-36)   

   Today, take time to pray for those who mistreat you, asking God to help you show mercy to them as He has shown mercy to us through His Son.


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