Matthew 5:43-48 (NASB) “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 sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
This passage ran me over with the force of a freight train, today. I am not an overtly affectionate and loving person. I can be on the rather cold, and mechanical side of things. I’m also very much a justice oriented person. In some regards, that orientation is a good thing, but in most instances it is not. Justice is too often determined by our perspective and emotions. When I am “wronged”, I seek justice, quid pro quo. I’m not necessarily a spiteful person, but will generally return in kind. It doesn’t matter if it is a stranger, friend, brother or my wife, when I am “wronged” I will almost certainly fire back in defense and most likely mount a counter offensive. Then I will go about convincing myself and any who will listen, why my actions are justified.
Regardless of the “wrongness” of another’s action, this passage expresses Jesus’ desire for us to respond the exact opposite to how I nearly always do. We are to respond in kindness, not in kind. We are to bring love into the conflict, to reflect God’s glory and to soften the heart and mend the wounds. Reading this passage today, has been one of the most painfully convicting moments of my life. I pray, “God keep this passage and the conviction you brought to my heart in the forefront of my mind, that I may not so easily lose sight of it again.”
Take a moment to reflect how you respond to stressful people and situations in your life. Does it need to change? Have a blessed weekend.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,