Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Love Your Enemies


Matt.5: 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 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;
45 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 on the unjust.

This, this lies at the very heart of what it means to follow Jesus. This is not some flowery overtures toward your cantankerous neighbor. This flies in the face of all that our hearts and minds desire. It goes against the strong flow of our natural minds and our fallen hearts. In fact, our hearts and minds without Christ can find logical reasons and mitigating factors which allow us to avoid the profound truth contained in these verses.
Let us not lie to ourselves and the Spirit. We are prone to take up even the slightest offense. It might be an abrasive store clerk, or someone who buts in front of us in traffic, or someone who mistreats our child, but in the end we are swift to take up an offense and slow to be clothed in forgiveness. But forgiveness is just the first step in what Jesus teaches here. Without true forgiveness Jesus said we would be turned over to the tormentors. I am not sure what that means exactly but it sure doesn’t sound good.
So until you understand what true forgiveness is you will never follow Jesus. And in order to understand true forgiveness you must understand with depth and passion just how much you have been forgiven! It is only from that perspective can you be humbled and therefore experience the freedom to forgive others. This is no moral lesson which finds some sentimentality within our hearts. No, this is the bedrock of the faith, and without forgiveness we are no better than the pagans.
But as I said forgiveness is the platform from which we are exhorted to go further into the incredible and challenging things of the Spirit. And here is where we must completely part company with the external mores which even pagans sometimes ascribe. To love your enemies and to bless them and do good to them is a colossal exhortation and command. It requires a denial of self. You must allow the Spirit to drain you of all self righteousness, and you must esteem others greater than yourself. Did you comprehend what I just said? These are the truths which lie in the Holy of Holies. This is difficult spiritual labor. And this labor has a beginning but it has no end. If you truly desire to follow the Savior into these truths you will have to seek Him each and every day.
There will be many obstacles in that kind of a journey. Family and friends will steer you off course. Most of the visible church will place stumbling blocks in your path. You own wicked heart will speak lies to you. All the fallen sources of media with detour you. In fact, the entire world will be against that kind of journey. You will hear words like liberals, conservatives, gays, Muslims, abortion doctors, and a host of other pejoratives which minimize people in our eyes to say nothing of showing them the redemptive love of God. Oh how the church has become part of the culture, whether it be liberal or conservative, and in so doing we have left Christ for a mess of fallen pottage!
And so, Rick, give us the key to it all. I am sorry, I cannot. You see I am on that journey and I walk with a stumbling gait sometimes. And sometimes we want some “key” which is a clandestine way to find it more quickly. But I do know this: All truths from Jesus can be found in Him. So if we desire to love our enemies we must seek Him relentlessly and with passion. For the more you find Jesus the more Jesus will become your very life. And that, my friends, IS truth.

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