“You have heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you will become children of your Father in heaven, because he makes his sun rise on both evil and good people, and he lets rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 47 And if you greet only your relatives, that’s no great thing you’re doing, is it? Even the unbelievers do the same, don’t they? 48 So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
After this mornings bible study with my children on this scripture and the interesting conversations that came from this study, I have come to draw this scripture closer to my heart than ever before. When Jesus said ”that even a pagan can love those who love them” made me really think about my past responses and even actions to others. How many countless people I disliked because they were difficult with me or because they had such different belief systems to my own. I have been the pot calling the kettle black. Then I started to think about the body of Christ today and how often today they preach about hate. One perfect example I can use that other have heard of is “how evil Muslims are!” In reality they are our distant cousins.
And as for Ishmael, I’ve heard you. I’ll bless him, and he’ll have many descendants. I will multiply him greatly, he’ll father twelve tribal leaders, and I’ll cause his descendants to become a great nation.
Yet we speak harsh words towards those who beliefs are different than our own when Jesus calls us to love our neighbor and our enemies. If we are only loving fellow Christians and those who love us back, oh how we have failed Jesus because even a pagan can do that much. How do we have the full love of God in us at this point? My brothers and sisters we are all in need of clarity in our lives and we can only do this by closely holding on to Jesus’ lesson for us in this scripture. As Jesus is our example to emulate, we as Christians are called to be the example for others to emulate. How else can we bring people to Christ? We are called to be Christ-like and carry our crosses! This means carrying all His burdens, dealing with all the tribulations we must face being Christian and most importantly sharing His “LOVE.”
I am far from perfect and get agitated quickly, my wife can testify to this statement. However, when I realize what is happening I quickly turn to prayer. When we let our personal emotions God gave us to run amuck we allow Satan to have a foothold in our lives. We should instantly feel conviction when we have this revelation from self reflection in our life. Only with true conviction can come true rejuvenations of our souls.
I am not saying we are to be perfect robots because we can’t. We will always fall short of His glory because we are born in sin, live surrounded by sin, and fight spiritually against sin as part of our lives. These things all take a toll in us. However, we are to strive to be Christ-like in every aspect in our lives. If not we are no different than the Pharisees. They separated themselves from the world, but they held onto their desires and rules instead of God’s love and will for all mankind. And that will is to love our neighbors and our enemies as well.
I pray that these words I share with everyone today get imprinted in your hearts along side with Jesus lesson in Matthew 5:43-48 that I have shared with you all today. We can only grow into spiritual maturity by applying this lesson in ALL aspects of our lives instead of when it is convenient or if we see someone is watching us. Only in love can we seek to love others the way God loved us even though we do not deserve it!
We all have room to grow in our lives and I pray that through guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that we do not let our sins deter us from being more like Christ Jesus on a daily basis. Jesus Christ calls all His followers to excel in life, but we cannot do it without displaying His love for others even if they persecute us.
I also pray that everyone has a blessed day today and that this lesson reaches whoever needs it. I will leave everyone with one last scripture today for encouragement!
“Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up.”