Today marked week two in our study at church titled, PARADOX. The message addressed a challenging topic, Love Your Enemies with the main scripture from Luke 6: 27-36.
I've read this scripture plenty of times before. I've justified myself more times that I can count. Well, God, I'm not "hating" anyone by avoiding them at all costs, right? Interestingly, God has a different view for the "haters" in our lives.
vs. 27~ But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, Do good to those who hate you.
Am I listening or making excuses? Is avoiding someone at all costs showing love or doing them any good?
vs. 28~ Bless those who curse you, Pray for those who mistreat you.
I should bless the driver that cut me off, not bless him out? I should pray for God's favor on the business man that ripped me off? Really, isn't that a bit too much, God? I mean, I didn't even get what I paid for and yet, you want me to pray for your blessings on them?
vs. 29-30~ If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
I should just stand there and take it? Um, now I'm starting to see why this is a paradox... So, to the girl who stole my little wooden bible as a teenager, I should not hold a grudge but in my heart "give" it to her?
vs. 31~ Do to others as you would have them do to you.
I want God to show me grace and mercy when I fall. Do I extend this same grace to my neighbor? Isn't this "the golden rule" that we teach our children. Am I following this on a daily basis, myself?
vs. 35~ But Love your enemies, Do good to them, and Lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
There are those same two phrases that Jesus started with: LOVE and DO GOOD. I know that when I repeat things to my kids, I do it because it is important. This is a big deal to God. That last line catches my heart: He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. I'm glad He is kind to me when I have been found ungrateful, undeserving, unfaithful.
vs. 36~ Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Jesus ends with mercy. Mercy is not getting what is deserved. So, even though someone may speak all manner of evil about me, it is not my job to do the same. God is the judge, and vengence is His. My job is to show mercy, speaking words of life and blessing instead of death and cursing.
Now, that I've shared what God has spoken to my heart today. I must confess that I have failed in all of these areas at one point or another. Even as I sat there listening to Pastor Jon, my heart played "billy goat"- you know, "but, but, but"...
Me: But you know I've tried, I wave to them every time I drive by, while that entire family still looks away.
God: Are you waving with your hand or your heart? Do you have love?
Me: But he promised three inches of asphalt and now it's cracking with only one inch.
God: Have you prayed for his business? Is this a time when you could show mercy?
Me: But, But, BUT....
God: LOVE, DO GOOD, BLESS, PRAY FOR, GIVE, LOVE, DO GOOD, BE MERCIFUL...
Me: Yes, Lord. Help me to show love, do good, bless others, pray for, give to, and show mercy to the haters in my life. Mold me to be more like you. Give me strength as I know that the tests will come. Bring your words of life and blessing to my heart. Make me more like you. Thank you Father for your love, goodness, blessings, and mercy that you pour out upon me. Make me more like you. Amen.
You will be able to find the podcast of Pastor Jon's message at www.brentwoodchurch.org under media, title Paradox, Part 2, 7/22/12.
Smile :) donnamusing