Have you ever noticed how easy it is to read certain verses in the Bible and how infinitely difficult it is to
actually put them into practice? I certainly have!
In my prayer time, I often use “Handbook to Prayer” by Kenneth Boa to guide my prayers. In today’s prayer guide, he offered Matthew 5:44 as a verse to pray through. That verse says:
Matthew 5:44 (New Living Translation)
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Easy to read. Extremely difficult to put into practice.
After all, it comes natural to hold grudges, doesn’t it? It feels normal and we feel justified when we avoid (ignore) those who have hurt us. It might even be easy to go so far as to undermine them by talking badly about them to others.
But, if you look in the neighborhood in which Matthew 5:44 camps out, you’ll see that there’s more on the line than just being merciful and gracious to those who have hurt us. The big idea is this: When we are merciful and gracious to others, especially those who have hurt us, we are evidencing the qualities of a true child of God.
God loves His enemies. Do you want others to see the family resemblance when they look at you? Do the same thing.
Matthew 5:43-48 (New Living Translation)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I (Jesus) say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Periodically, folks look at one of our three boys and say something like, “Wow! The resemblance is striking! He sure looks like his dad!”
Do you want to look like your Heavenly Father? Love the unlovable today.