Do the Hard Stuff
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:43-45
"Love your enemies" - easier said than done, huh? Do you really want to be warm and cozy with the people who hate you? Should you have to be pleasant with people that are just downright mean and rude to you? Yes...yes we should. It's not easy but Christ did it so why not us? I don't think He meant for us to seek out all the mad, ill-tempered, vicious, hateful nasty humans to befriend. I don't even think He meant for us to attain close, personal, best friend relationships with those who do not give us the time of day. We just have to show them Jesus through our words, deeds and actions.
Jesus tells us to love (always and foremost), bless, do good to, and pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27,28). He says if our enemy is hungry or thirsty give him something to fill his stomach (Prov. 25:21). We are not to behave rudely or seek for ourselves what is best without giving thought of others (1 Cor. 13:5). That's some hard facts, but with the love of Jesus we can strive to put our best foot forward and seek to do what is good and right and just (Rom. 12:2).
"Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle." (Rom. 12:9,10)
You will find in almost all people who lash out and harbor hate or persecution for others, that it stems from a deep-seated hurt in them and the only way they know to let it out is to lash out in hurtful and hateful ways. Sadly, you just might be in their path when this happens, so realize more times than not...it is not about you.
May we practice loving, praying, blessing and being ready to be there for them when they come to the end of themselves and need someone. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us that have been saved, let Him loose and He will do remarkable things through you.
Pray that the Lord will strengthen and prepare your heart for 'enemies' that may cross your path. Do you have one now you can be praying for? God will help you see matters with this person in a totally different light when you pray for them. You may even see through the anger at the heart of that person.
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for Your Word that explains so clearly and precisely how we are to treat those that do not have Your love in them. Prepare our hearts when we face these people. Give us the love, grace and tolerance we need to express Your Spirit on them. Always showing love. Amen.