Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 25, 2020
Love your enemies! Matthew 5:44… Conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:21
I am stunned, heartbroken and outraged once again by the needless murder of a young unarmed black man by two armed white men. A couple of weeks ago, Ahmaud Abrery, an innocent 25 year old from south Georgia, was jogging through a neighborhood, when he was confronted and killed (all captured on video). My soul shivered in shame, my heart broke in sorrow and my mind filled with angry thoughts. But God. But God reminded me how hate harbored in my heart can lead to murderous thoughts and even actions. Love not hate, good not evil, forgiveness not revenge is my role. God will judge in His way, in His timing.
I went back to the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King:
Hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. … Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.
So how do I respond to injustice to the vulnerable? Those unable to defend themselves, who are preyed upon by the privileged and the haughty. How can I help defeat hate, not propagate it? After listening again to Dr. King’s sermon, Love Your Enemies, he inspired me with a loving response to the deeds of hate, evil and injustice. I prayed over his ideas and put them into my thoughts and words: Three ways to love my enemies like Jesus would have me love them:
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better” (Colossians 1:10).
Goodness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so any goodness in me is the work of God’s Spirit in and through me. As I abide in the Spirit, I am able to be transformed by the Spirit in ways I am unable to understand or take credit. The mystery of God’s goodness working out of my life garners His glory. How? He is glorified as His goodness is expressed in new mercies every morning. Mercies given to me and mercies for me to give my fellow human beings. In addition, His goodness is on bold display in His generous forgiveness of me, so I am able to give extravagant forgiveness to others. I honor and please the Lord when the fruit of His goodness flows from me.
The fruit of goodness flourishes from a heart full of God. A heart fractured by evil is able to receive into the crevice of brokenness the Lord’s unlimited love. Love from above. Every gift of God—faith, family, finances—originates in the Lord’s love resident in heaven. Jesus calls me to be good, so I am able to look for the good in evildoers, and do good to those who do harm.
Look for Good
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Every human being, however evil he might be, has the capacity for goodness because he is created in the image of God. Empathy is a facilitator that can find goodness in another hurting heart. A person’s outrageous attitude of prejudice and violence toward others different than themselves may be a cursed condition that extends back for generations. Being empathetic to a bad person does not justify evil behavior, but it does model—maybe for the first time, kindness that might lead her to repentance. As a representative of God’s goodness and kindness, you can be a broker of faith in Jesus. Look for the good in bad people, and one day they may return to their good God. Look for good and trust the Lord; your selfless love will help someone be saved.
“Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good” (Romans 12:14-21, The Message).
Ultimately, good overcomes evil. Why? Because God is good and God overcomes all. And as God’s good children—we are over-comers. So, be a good goer! What does it mean to be a good goer? It involves giving time and resources. We roll up our sleeves and do whatever it takes to meet the need in front of us. Our heart assesses the situation and diagnoses the need while our head engages our calendar and our checkbook. Jesus said to be great is to serve greatly for His sake. Good goers have the gumption to get involved and even get messy if needed. So, do good.
Bless your enemies. How? Pray for them. Pray for them to surrender to faith in Jesus. Pray for them to forgive themselves. Their guilt. Their shame. Their evil deeds. Pray for them to be loved and to love. Pray for them to be healed. Healed from rejection. Healed from abuse. Healed from murder. Healed from this wicked world. Pray and then be their friend. Be a friend of your enemy. Your love for them may one day draw them to God’s love for them. Yes, good overcomes evil!
“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” (Luke 6:35-36, The Message).
Heavenly Father, create in me a clean heart, so I can love others with a pure heart, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who do I know who is different from me, who I can pray for and be a friend to?
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Your love for someone may one day draw them to God’s love for them. #WisdomHunters #good #truth #Jesus
13 minute video – Tasha Cobbs:
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