Loving The Unloveable

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. Matthew 5:43

In a world full of anger and hate, it's easy to treat others the way they have treated us. The world says you have the right to be mean to someone who is mean to you. They say that someone should be cut out of your life when they turn their back on you. And shouldn't you be able to ask God to punish someone for they way they've hurt you? Go ahead and hold that grudge, it's fine.

Jesus Christ says differently, as He often does when the world starts talking.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:44

Jesus Christ, the Great Peacemaker, condenses His command into three distinct actions for us to take.

Speak well - Nothing unkind or ungodly should come out of your mouth. A good tongue-lashing may feel good for a moment, but it doesn't fit in the Lord's battle plan. Neither do gossip, tattling or playing the victim. Instead, speak out of a heart full of love. Be gentle and share in a soft voice, giving honor and respect to the other person as well as to Christ Himself.

Do well - Don't ignore, avoid, purposely hurt or return harshness for harshness. There's a great verse in Proverbs 25 that tells us to be generous in kindness to our enemies, which heaps coals of fire upon their heads. The Lord rewards our own heart condition and the ways we choose good over evil for the sake of evening the score.

Pray well - This may be the hardest one because we don't want to spend our precious prayer time on someone that won't even care we prayed for them. But on the flip side, the people who don't care are the ones who need our prayer the most. And our hearts are most affected when we get outside of ourselves and ask for divine help in these difficult situations rather than taking matters into our own hands. Prayer is so much stronger than anything we try to do on our own.

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. Matthew 5:45

The world won't understand our kind, generous actions, and that's just fine. As children of God, we are called to be separate, set apart to serve Him and not man. We are to reflect Him and His love, not what society loosely defines as love. It's the Lord's love that makes Him bless both believers and nonbelievers, those of us who follow Him with our whole hearts and those who won't even acknowledge His existence. What a beautiful picture of the love we are to reflect in His name.

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans do the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Matthew 5:46-47

It's easy to love the friends that call you, tell you you're wonderful and take you out for coffee. Anyone would. And that's the problem, Jesus said. Everyone loves the people who make them feel special and important. They don't have a problem greeting those who smile and pat them on the back. Even the worst of the worst will do that - shouldn't Christians be doing that and more?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Take God's example out into the world this week. He loves us as His children and wants us to reflect that love to our friends, family and other believers. But then He calls us to take it one step further - be spiritually mature (yes, He says it's time to grow up) and love the ones who have cursed you, hated you, used you and persecuted you. This is a difficult calling, but it's one that reaps huge benefits in the long run. There's nothing better than obeying the Lord, sharing His love and adjusting your own heart attitude to match His.

What might the week bring if we all chose to live and love, sold out for Jesus Christ?

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