“Never think you behave yourselves as becomes Christians, except when you sincerely, sensibly, and fervently love all men, of whatever party or opinion, and whether friendly or unkind, just or injurious, to you or your friends, or to the cause and kingdom of Christ.” — Jonathan Edwards
?But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
Jesus? commands go light years beyond the law.
Rather than simply not taking revenge on our enemies, he tells us to love them and actually do good to them. ?Rather than merely avoiding those who annoy us we’re to move toward them and do something to bless them.
Come on Jesus, you can?t expect me to do that. Do you know what my neighbor did to me?? Do you see the way this person slanders me at work? ?Do you see the constant disrespect and rejection my teenager gives me? ?Do you see the way my husband neglects me? How can you expect me to do good to them?? You’re asking the impossible.
Yes, Jesus commands what is impossible in our own power.? It goes against all that is natural in us to love our enemies. Yet whatever Jesus commands, he gives grace for.
And God doesn?t command us to do anything he hasn?t done for us.
First of all he so loved the world – all of us wicked rebels who hated him – ?that he gave his only Son, that we might not perish – which we deserved – but have eternal life.? And he continues to bless those who hate and curse him. ?He gives them sunshine, food, homes and countless joys and gets nothing back but ingratitude and sin.
Jesus loved his enemies, and prayed for those who abused him. ?Even as he hung on the cross, he asked his Father to forgive those who had betrayed, beaten, mocked him and drove the spikes through his hands and feet.
So how do we do this?
First pray for grace. Pray, Lord I can?t do this. ?Everything in me recoils against this. ?Please give me grace to forgive, to love and do good to them. ?Give me love for them.? HELP!
Then ask God to forgive them and bless them. Ask God to save them if they’re unbelievers.? If they’re believers, ask God to give them grace to change – not because you’d like them to, but for God’s glory.
If possible, take some action to bless them. Is there some gift you could send them?? Some small kindness you can do for them? ?Remember, expect nothing in return.? Don?t expect them to thank you or be nice to you.
Years ago a man and his wife regularly harassed my wife and me. ?They didn?t hurt us physically, but cursed and mocked us and did things that tempted me to anger. ?I had thoughts of going to their house and spray painting something on it.? Or putting a sign in my yard that said ?Get a life? with their names on it so they?d see it when they walked past.
But I knew that would dishonor God. ?So I began to pray and ask God to forgive and bless them. ?It wasn?t easy. ?I didn?t have warm and fuzzy feelings for them when I prayed. ?But I kept praying.
One night Kristi suggested we do something good to them.? That we anonymously send them a gift certificate to a grocery store. So we did.? We never saw any change in them, but? knew we?d pleased Jesus.? We saw him give us the grace to do what we never could have in the natural.
Who comes to your mind as you read this? Who has sinned against you?? Pray for them today.? Ask the Lord if there?s some small way you can bless them. ?You?ll need lots of grace. ?But you?ll bring glory to Jesus? name when you obey him this way.
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