QUESTION: The animosity we see today manifested in terrorist acts is perhaps somewhat like the extreme hatred that Jesus experienced. But I don't recall accounts of Jesus healing hatred, and I wonder: Why?
A1 The good news is that Jesus' prayers thwarted the intended effects of hatred, even if his persecutors didn't always trade in their animosity for Christian charity. The ultimate example was seen in his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus proved that even oceans of hatred raining down on a single individual could not snuff out the life and love born of God. He drew on the hate-defeating power of divine Love. That led to the greatest triumph in history. And his triumphant example still serves as a road map today. It guides us in how to respond to threats of modern-day terrorism.
Jesus urged his followers to pray actively, not just for themselves or for the safety of humanity, but specifically for those who were most antagonistic. He taught: "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" (Matt. 5:44). He followed his own counsel, even in his hour of greatest need, by praying from the cross, asking the Father's forgiveness for those who crucified him. Were those prayers effective? Healing? And can ours be so today? Absolutely.