Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 14, 2020
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:14
Some things Jesus commands His kids to do aren’t easy. In fact, they can be downright difficult. One of those things is loving our enemies.
In Matthew 5:44-47 Jesus says:
“But I say, ‘Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
When I recently read this passage, I thought, “Sometimes loving hurts.”
Loving hurts because it hurts to sacrifice for someone who has done you wrong. It hurts to love someone who has taken advantage of you and feels justified in their injustice.
But even though it hurts to love our enemies, we need to remember that the commands Christ gives aren’t to wound us, or to hurt us, but He has given them to us to set us free. His commands are for liberation. His commands are for life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)
In loving your enemies, you will be set free from the burdens of hatred, unforgiveness, jealousy, and revenge. Love sets the human heart free from the vices of evil that put the human heart in a vice.
In loving your enemies, you have an opportunity to learn valuable lessons. Your enemies are here to teach you priceless practices: how to lay down your life and how to serve. They are here to expand you internally and make you a better and bigger person. Your enemies are here to make you more like Christ. They are here to teach you how to do the verb of love that leads to liberty.
The command Christ gives us to love those who persecute us and hate us doesn’t mean you have to be best friends, forget what they have done, or even approve of their actions. It doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries. But it does mean you unselfishly seek the best or higher good for them and pray for them. It does mean you ask God to give you a heart of forgiveness.
You may be focusing on what is good and right and fair, about getting justice and what you want. But perhaps you are called to be an instrument in the Father’s hand for the benefit of someone who is hurting you—just like the suffering Savior was an instrument in His Father’s hands for your benefit.
“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice” (Proverbs 24:17).
Lord, there are people who have hurt me in my life. Please help me to respond with your heart of forgiveness. Help me to pray for them and ask you to bless them as you command. You forgave me when I hurt you and when my sins put you on the cross. Please help me to do the same when others hurt me. Amen.
Pray for your enemies and ask God to bless them. Confess your forgiveness of them to Jesus.
Loving hurts because it hurts to sacrifice for someone who has done you wrong. #forgive #WisdomHunters #truth #Jesus
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