Love your neighbor and your enemy, actively

Discussion/Devotional thought of the day:

5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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.
Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV)

It is challenging enough to love one’s friends, one’s neighbors.  Yet Jesus calls us to love as He does – to love even our enemies – as we love ourselves.   Some may hear this as law – noting the impossibility of such love, and use that as an excuse for not fulfilling this law – or even trying to fulfill it, citing Christ’s fulfillment of the law.  They dismiss the command, and seek a cheaper form of grace – one that is reactive, not proactive.

St Paul in Romans 6 would highly disagree – noting that we shouldn’t continue in our sin, that grace would abound more.  Instead we should strive to obey and love our enemies – asking God to turn their hearts toward Him.  A challenge indeed.  I love how one of my favorite authors put it.

440    When you have finished your work, do your brother’s, helping him, for the sake of Christ, with such finesse and naturalness that no one—not even he—will realize that you are doing more than in justice you ought. This, indeed, is virtue befitting a son of God!  Escriva, Josemaria,  The Way (Kindle Locations 1083-1085). Scepter Publishers.

Love results in action, it’s not just “being nice” or feeling good about someone else.  It brings a cup of cold water to someone working, then takes their place while they work.  It goes two miles with the person who demanded (fairly or not) that you go one with them one.

Love your enemies – this will not only take the mercy of God, a true level of realizing how much you are in Christ and depend on His strength, but it will give you a new appreciation of His love for you!

Lord have mercy!  And as you do, help us show your love and mercy to our enemies and our neighbors,

( by the way – this includes those politicians you’ve been complaining about recently!)

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on July 31, 2012, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Good morning, I think what Christ forgot to mention is why we love our enemy. The truth be told, our enemy is our greatest teacher. They show us our strengths and weaknesses. How would we ever know how strong we really are, if we weren’t challenged? If we as children of the I AM, realized that we are all One under the Infinite Creator, that we all had the same parents, it might cause us to stop before we pull the trigger and send someone else to their death. For in reality, we are sending a Child of the Great I AM to his/her death. There are great spiritual consequences for this, and most people don’t realize that what we do to another, we are in essence doing to ourselves. The people who have tried to kill me, and there have been a few,gave me a precious gift. They showed me how to rise above my own stupidity and ignorance. They gave me cause to learn or be killed. I am grateful to have some vicious teachers, not because I enjoyed their tutalege, but because they forced me to grow. Blessings on your walk, we are only here for a short time, in this great classroom called Mother Earth.

    • Ma’am,
      Respectfully, the greatest teacher we have is not our enemies who antagonize and threaten us. While indeed there might be some truth in their critiques, the critiques are often meant to injure, to inflame and to cause problems. And to be honest – many of those who attack Christians are not children of GOd the Father, nor have received deliverance through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

      That doesn’t mean they won’t – for surely it is God’s desire to see them be brought to repentance, to have their sin cleansed.

      Our greatest teacher, who saved us while we were His enemies, while we denied the Father divinity, while we killed Him. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to call us from death, in bondage to sin, to a new life – that is found in Christ, and in Him alone. He chose to love us, when we didn’t deserve it. He chose to take the burden for all of our sin, and to cleanse of all unrighteousness. Our enemies didn’t do that, they can’t – they are as guilty and broken because of sin as we are. They need the work of Jesus in their lives as much as we did/do. If we grasp the love of Jesus – poured out on us now, as much as it is when He saved us, our loving others will not mean we “learn” from them – but help them learn of Jesus love.

      May you know the grace of Christ Jesus, the crucified.

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