Relax and listen. Consciously prepare to hear God’s Word. Clear your mind of the worries and tasks that lie before you. Open your heart and allow it to refresh.
Matthew 5:43-48 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“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 children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
This is a passage I have often thought about. In yesterday’s eVotion I noted that it was an exceedingly difficult thing for me to feel forgiven. One of the reasons why I feel that way is because I sometimes hold grudges. (In counseling they call this Complementary Projection) When I think someone has done me wrong, there is a good chance that I begin to think of ways to get even. I imagine ways that I could “show them.” Then I calm down a bit and I think about God’s tender care and love for me. I remind myself that whatever someone does to me, it pales in comparison to sins I have committed against our most holy God. Yet, in Jesus Christ, God not only forgives me but also encloses me with love.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we recite, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus gives us the new commandment, “love one another even as I have loved you, so you must love one another,” remembering that Jesus said that in a room with his betrayer.
I have come to this conclusion for myself. I may not be holy, I may not be perfect in my actions and thoughts, but Jesus seems to connect our love with all humankind with being perfect. So to the best of my abilities, I will love all people and trust that God will protect me from people who do not love me or would set themselves up as my enemy.
Loving God, Christ showed us His endless love not only in death but while He lived. He had compassion even on His enemies. Help us to see people through those gracious compassionate eyes. Where our hearts are hardened, send your Holy Spirit to soften them so that we too can be instruments of your love and peace. In Christ’s name. Amen
Go with God!