18. Love the Unlovable - Mt 5:43-48
Matthew 5:43-48 -“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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Now you’ve done it, preacher. You have gone from preachin’ to meddlin’. It’s not bad enough that we got to shine the light by “going the extra mile’ but we have to love our enemies… that’s not difficult, it’s impossible!”
I must admit that I have trouble loving people who hurt me. I drove past a town today where I had been fired from a ministry. Some of the bad memories came pouring out that I though were long since buried. The memory of things said and done to me haunted me for a while. Angry faces flooded my mind. Resentment and bitterness started to stick in my craw…
But then I also started to remember the good times too. I thanked God for the blessing that happened in that town and the friendships that I still have there. I remembered some of the people who showed love to me when I made mistakes or didn’t handles things very well. And I had to smile… God even used the circumstances of that time to strengthen me and bring him glory.
I think that it is easier to love your enemies when your remember that they were created by God in his image just like you and I. It also helps to remember that God loves us in spite of our sins and disobedience. He didn’t just send his Son to die on the cross for me but also for even those who treat me poorly.
The answer to the problem is to pray for them. But how? “God bless my enemy and make them prosper? I don’t think so!” It’s hard to think of things that I can pray about for them. I have to think hard about it. I have to find out what their needs really are. I have to get close to them to find that out. I have to cross my own comfort zone.
But there is something healing about praying for your enemy. As you explore ways to pray you begin to show concern. Then you start praying a bit more earnestly. Then you start to really care for the person you are praying for… dare I say it… You find yourself loving that person in spite of your best efforts not too.
Congratulations, now you are loving like God loves. You are perfect… complete… like him.
May God bless you today as you begin to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father; I praise you for your endless love and grace. You care for me even when I don’t deserve your love. Help me to pray for my enemies and to learn to love them the way you love me. Thank you for showing your love in Jesus. It is in his name that I pray, AMEN!