May our spirit of forgiving and understanding grow progressively…

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Prayer…

Devotional thoughts for the day:

Matthew 5:43-45 (MSG) 43  “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ 44  I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, 45  for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. 

Mercedes Morado and Begoña Alvarez, who were among those who worked with Monsignor Escrivá for years, wrote that his spirit of forgiving and understanding toward those who slandered him grew progressively, to the point where he could say in all simplicity, “I don’t feel any resentment toward them. I pray for them every day, just as hard as I pray for my children. And by praying for them so much, I’ve come to love them with the same heart and the same intensity as I love my children.”30 He was putting onto paper something of his own personal experience when he wrote, “Think about the good that has been done to you throughout your lifetime by those who have injured or attempted to injure you. Others call such people their enemies…. You are nothing so special that you should have enemies; so call them ‘benefactors.’ Pray to God for them: as a result, you will come to like them.”31 On another occasion, Encarnita Ortega witnessed how he reacted when told that Father Carrillo de Albornoz had left the Society of Jesus, later apostatizing from the Catholic faith. Monsignor Escrivá was visibly moved and deeply sorry. He buried his head in his hands and fell silent, withdrawing into himself, praying. Salvador Canals reminded him that this same man had once organized a very serious campaign of slander against the Work. Monsignor Escrivá interrupted him bluntly, “But he is a soul, my son, a soul!” (1)

Facebook is becoming more and more for me a place of sorrow, a place I dread to go.

The reason is, in part, the present governmental crisis, the shutdown of the government.

But my sorrow isn’t caused by that, but by the reactions of many friends, most of whom are followers of Christ.  Yet, even as they fall on both sides of the issue, they do so with anger and wrath to an extreme I haven’t seen yet in my life.  They act like they are the survivors of church bombings in Pakistan, or the other persecutions that is literally costing lives – not just money, in this world.  Again – I long for real discussion on these issues – but not this series of diatribes against President Obama or against the Republican leaders.    Will the people of God grow up?  Will we return our focus to things that truly matter, like the salvation of souls?  The healing of wounds caused by sin?

Or will we major in the minors? Will we continue to neglect a need for God, because our focus is on governments, or economics or protecting ourselves?  Will we mourn over sin, over those who choose separation from God, and will we rejoice when prodigals come home?  Heck, will we seek them out, even as Christ sought the treasures in the fields

Will we become like Christ – who embraced suffering, so others could be healed, so others would know life as the children of God?

In order to do that, we’ll need to develop that same kind of spirit that was observed in Escriva.  And I would be keen to note that it grew in him – it obviously needed to.

Is our reputation, our feelings, even our own personal well-being worth more than a soul that is broken, that is so easily healed by God’s mercy and grace?   Can we put the best construction on our enemies and adversaries work?  On those who battle in Washington D.C. or in St Louis, or here in our backyards?

Or are their souls worth trying to bring God’s light to?  Are they worth mourning?  Are they worth sacrifiing time to pray for them, and the effort to love them?

Lord have mercy on us – and help us minister to those who oppose us,, or whom we think oppose us.  Develop in us the heart of Stephen the deacon/martyr, and may our spirit grow, and may that growth itself encourage others to depend on you.

AMEN

(1)   Urbano, Pilar (2011-05-10). The Man of Villa Tevere (Kindle Locations 1819-1832). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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 October 8, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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