When someone insults us, steals from us or lies to us, what would Jesus say … to us?
I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44 ESV)
Most of us don’t have literal enemies. We don’t face the kind of persecution Christians experience in other countries. Without minimizing their very real suffering, I’d like to discuss how we can apply Jesus’ words about the “enemies” in our everyday lives.
Jesus says that we are to love and pray for those who attack us on social media, undermine us at work, disregard us at home and misjudge us at church.
If we’re honest, it seems a bit unfair (and sometimes almost impossible) that Jesus could call us to love those who drive us up the wall with their disrespectful and unloving behavior. Don’t we sometimes feel justified in refusing to turn the other cheek? As much as we want to obey God in every area of our lives, loving and praying for “those” people is asking a bit too much from us, don’t you think?
We’ve all been there, but what kind of example do we set for our children and grandchildren? When someone calls them names, do we want them to retaliate? Do we want them to think they must be callous to survive on the school playground?
As they grow up and develop relationships in the work force and in their communities, how do we want them to respond when someone disagrees with their point of view? How bad are we willing to let things get as we watch the chips on our children’s shoulders grow sinfully larger and larger? And the childlike love in their hearts grow colder and colder?
What do you think?
When we demonstrate that someone who dares to cross us doesn’t deserve our respect and prayers, our children see us at our worst.
- What will their chances of succeeding later in life be if they behave in the same petty, unforgiving way we do?
Why not challenge them to rise to a higher standard? And challenge ourselves to hear – and obey – what Jesus is saying to us.
“I say to you, (your name), ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
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