“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’
I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.
When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.
This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.
If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
Matthew 5:43-48 MSG
I’ve heard those words before. From my parents. From some friends. Mostly said in exasperation as I was probably acting waaaaaaay beneath my chronological age. But now, Jesus Himself is admonishing me, in His ever-perfect concern for me to, “Grow up.”
He sees how easy it is for me to love my friends and hate my enemies. But that is not His way. That sure doesn’t show His Kingdom is in me and is my pursuit. So, of course, His desire is to challenge me with truth. (After all, He is the truth so it would compel me to respond rightly.)
Jesus wants me to love my enemies. Really? My first reaction is, “You’ve got to be kidding, Jesus!” However, my thoughtful reaction knows He has a grander purpose for me. His purpose, not my selfish ways but His selfless ways. He desires to bring out the best in me, which doesn’t include wallowing in my worst.
So I must act rightly when I am wronged. That’s what Jesus did. He ran to His Father and told Him all about His enemies…but not in a way to condemn them, but in a way to help them. He prayed for them. Not just popcorn-type prayer, but purposeful, life-changing prayer which requires energy.
And as I pray, God works. He does surgery not only on their hearts, but most importantly…on mine! So I become more and more like Him and less and less like my putrid self!
No matter what, God just gives and gives His best to everyone (the good, the bad, the nice, the nasty). He makes the sun to shine and the rain to nourish EVERYONE. And since He gives His best, He expects me to give my best…which is actually His best in me.
Loving the unloveable. Only He can do that through me. Be friendly to the unfriendly. Only He can do that through me. And that’s why He encourages me, exhorts me to, “Grow up!” Don’t just live your run-of-the-mill sinful ways.
I am a Kingdom subject! Live like it!
Live out my God-created identity. Not my “Margo-identity”. Not your
(your name here) identity!
My focus should be on my King Jesus! After all, I am His subject and that frees me to live generously and graciously to others. Yes, even my enemies.
And living God’s way, they won’t stay enemies for long. After all, that’s how He lives towards me…generously and graciously.