Studying Matt 5:43-48 this week and I am so challenged.
As I have been praying about what the Lord wants me to learn I am driven to ponder the very thing that drives people to hate.
What causes people to hold on to past hurts?
What benefit is derived from cutting people off and never having anything to do with them?
I understand hurt, I have been hurt. I understand disappointment, I have experienced my fair share of people not living up to the person they said they were. I understand being wrongly accused and even falsely judged for things that you would never do yet, someone believes you to be capable. I have been on the side of rejection.
I understand coming to the place where you can not have a "friendship" with someone who has done these things to you. I understand that unless repentance is present restoration can not fully take place.
I struggle with loving people for where they are in their process of growing in Christ or in their lostness. But I strive to do just that.... Love them. I strive to work it out in the mess of confrontation and rebuke. In that I find I am also confronted with my wrong behavior and I accept rebuke. I struggle too.
Matt 5:43-48 says, " You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy'. "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brother, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"
Today, I pray for my enemies, today, I pray that I will be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect- today, I pray that I do not allow myself to be conformed by the world around me but that I would be transformed - Because I am different, I am a Child of the MOST HIGH GOD, the daughter of the King!
1 Peter 1:13-16
"Therefore, prepare your minds for ACTION, Keep Sober in Spirit, Fix your Hope completely on the GRACE to be brought to you at the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves all in all your behavior; because it is written,
" You shall be Holy , for I Am Holy"
In and of myself I am not capable to accomplish this but in Christ, I can.
2 Peter 1: 2-4 - "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
It isn't for me to wonder how one can not follow God's commandments. Or why one does not believe in God. It is for me - a choice to be obedient. To love unconditionally. To show mercy. Be kind when wronged. Be gentle in spirit. Be gracious.
To genuinely pray for those who see me not as I am. And when I am confronted or rebuked that I would listen, repent and be restored. Not just in word but in my actions!
I pray that I might by my love and sincerity be found faithful and obedient to what Christ calls me to. It doesn't mean it is easy but I am making the choice today to be different than I once was and to learn how to better love those who are my enemies. Those who hate and are unkind, those who are not children of obedience but choose disobedience.
Loving your enemy is hard to do on my own but much easier to do when I see my own brokenness.
What is hard about this for you?