The Words We DO NOT Want to Hear (or read) Today

English: Lord Jesus at St Joseph Oratory, Mont...

English: Lord Jesus at St Joseph Oratory, Montreal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day:

 43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ 44  But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Matthew 5:43-44 (TEV)

17  If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. 18  Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. 19  Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord.” 20  Instead, as the scripture says: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame.” 21  Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with goodRomans 12:17-21 (TEV) 

 8  To conclude: you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another, and be kind and humble with one another. 9  Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you. 10  As the scripture says, “If you want to enjoy life and wish to see good times, you must keep from speaking evil and stop telling lies. 11  You must turn away from evil and do good; you must strive for peace with all your heart. 12  For the Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their prayers; but he opposes those who do evil.”  1 Peter 3:8-12 (TEV)

 59  They kept on stoning Stephen as he called out to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60  He knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!” He said this and died. Acts 7:59-60 (TEV)

12  Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to usMatthew 6:12 (TEV) 

Yesterday morning – my cousin posted a picture on Facebook – as they walked toward the finish line of the Boston Marathon from Fenway.

A couple of hours later – the news flashed across my computer that evil had again occurred, as bombs disrupted the peace, the joy of accomplishment, at the finish line.  Though I haven’t seen her in a few years, my heart became quite anxious – as I waited for her response , as I waited to hear word that she was safe.  Eventually we did… they had stopped to look at some work out clothes on the way.

BUt as I watched the pictures of ambulances and rescue crew – as I saw the pictures, as I watched the numbers scroll as they tallied the numbers of those who were physically hurt,  I wanted to strike back, I wanted to find the minds that created this horror.  And I know the damage is far worse, for no tally can ever be made of those who are spiritually and emotionally bruised and battered by such and event.  My anger was fueled, as I began to see people from “both sides” try to turn this into a political issue, trying to cause division where there was no division.   The anger pooled, and grew – as people gave voice to their fears, their anxiety and called for retribution now – even before all the facts are known.  External Threats were named, internal threats, conspiracy theories abound.  I began to fear what happened to a doctor who new, shortly after 9-11  he and his wife were attacked for being part of those who attacked our country – even though they were not Arabic or Muslim, but Indian and Christian.

And my heart broke.

For my hatred, my sin, for the sins of those who wanted to be in on the revenge, for those who lost control.

What will it take, in moments like these – to really hear the Voice of Scripture, calling us to love, calling us to pray, calling us to urge our enemies to be reconciled to God?  To let God decide on whom to pour out wrath on (for many would condemn those who perpetrated this evil to hell)

The above passages aren’t optional responses to evil – they are the responses that those who trust in God above all else are to have.  To demonstrate the kind of love that goes beyond all logic – to show the love of Christ.   In our readings for the class I am teaching this week- the author, Michael Card, noted that one of the definitions of the Hebrew word “cHesed” is “to love your enemies”, or to love those who have failed you.

It’s hard isn’t it?

But it isn’t about our relationship with our enemies.  It is about our trust in God, our faith in Him, our ability to see that He is God.

and let’s be honest – in our flesh we hate it. We hate this idea that we have to forgive, to pray for, to love… even as Christ loved us,

Yet we are called to it.

As we pray this day, as we pray for the victims, for their families, for my beloved city of Boston, may we as well cry for mercy for ourselves, for healing, for God’s comfort – and for His strength… for as His people, as the Father’s children, for we desperately need His mercy… to show mercy.  And may we pray that those behind this – that God would turn they hearts and minds toward Him.

And even as we pray – may we know the peace of God, which passes all understanding, in which our hearts and minds are kept, guarded by Jesus Christ.

 

 

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 April 16, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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