The Greatest Love!
“Ye have heard… Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate your enemy. 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 and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…” - Matthew 5:43-45
This section of Jesus’ sermon on the mount is the greatest and most profound declaration of love. It is not about loving someone who loves us. It is not about praying for your “kind of people.” It is not about blessing those who agree with you, but it is about loving, praying, and blessing those considered to be your enemies. It is about doing good to those who are different from you, and who do not agree with you.
Today we live in a hot bed of discord and disagreement. Whether it is in the geo-political world, or within religion. There is envy and resentment everywhere. There is always one group hoping, wishing, and causing harm upon another group. Thomas Lindberg gave a great example of this.
There were two shopkeepers who were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile at his rival. Well, one night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, “I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. If you choose to be rich, he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. So what is your desire?” The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, “Here’s my request: Strike me blind – in one eye!”
Can you see how jealousy and envy is motivated by the power of hate? Oh we may not be so cruel as to wish something of that nature. Yet, our Lord Jesus did not forbid us to be cruel, but called us to show love – even to our enemies.
Before you are quick to make excuses not to love and pray for those who have done you wrong or for those considered your enemies, may I remind you of the greatest love ever? The love of Jesus Christ! Jesus, the Son of God, did what He instructs His followers to do. Paul wrote, “when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). Dear child of God it was not the nails that held Jesus on the cross, it was love. When we do as Christ has instructed us we show that we too are the children of God exhibiting great love.
David C. Hale, Pastor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org