Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Healing for Relationships

Matthew 5:44-48 
44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus is radical.  He has called us to a higher way than we are able to walk in, without His Spirit leading the journey.  I was meditating on this passage this morning before I heard the news that a church in Florida is planning on burning the Koran on 9/11.  I was so grieved to see something like that associated with Christianity, and by association, my precious Jesus.  We are not called to fight evil with evil! 

Usually, this is how I think about this passage.  Loving the clearcut enemy.  Sometimes it is almost easier to love the enemy at large, but what about the times when those close to us act like enemies and say and do hurtful things?  When I think of the incredibly high divorce rate, even among Christians, I can see that we have a hard time living out this passage.  My gut reaction when I am attacked does not always come close to Jesus' admonition. And those times when I am able to bless instead of curse, love instead of hate, I find that I get proud of myself! Is there any hope?  I can only see one way:  I must love the Lord, my God, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and all my strength, and love my neighbor as myself.  And who is my neighbor? In this shrinking world, for me, it is everyone, but it begins at home.  Evil is not people. Evil can be embodied in people, evil can live in me. But Jesus died for each and everyone of us. He in His infinite mercy knew we couldn't do it.  Thankfully, when we invite him into our hearts and lives, He comes in and empowers us to love as He loves.  
Thank You, Lord Jesus. You have transformed my day, once more.  Once more I recognize my deep love for You and my never-ending need for Your grace.  I love you, Lord