Good morning Church,
Got any enemies? People who've done you wrong, you wished something would happen to them...they would get what they deserve!? Ever cursed anyone? Our human tendency is to get offended when someone wrongs us, get angry, let our heart get hard, think bad thoughts against that person, or even wish them harm or death. We want revenge! Justice! That is becoming more and more a loud voice in society - those looking for retribution: "I want to be compensated for the wrong I suffered!" Don't believe me, just watch the news!
Jesus says: "Love your enemies" - "Do to them as you would want them to do to you". Most of us, when we offend someone else want to be forgiven, absolved of our guilt. Jesus commands us to "love" our enemies with "agape" love - the same kind of love Jesus has for us, when He forgives us over and over. Love with the same kind of love God does, who is so merciful that He doesn't give us what we deserve, but showers us with blessing even when we offend Him.
I encourage you to prayerfully read this week's reading: Luke 6:27-36; and Matthew 5:38-48
Ask God if you need to forgive or reconcile with anyone. Ask God to give you His love for people who've done you wrong, and then find a way to bless that person! Choose to love, not hate - that is being a radical Jesus follower, and a citizen of the Kingdom!
Have a great week!
Luke 6: 27-36 in the Message
27-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.