Scripture: Matt 5: 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Observation: God’s way is not always easy, but it is always the right way.
Application: I’ve been following Ray Comfort’s blog Atheist Central lately and I have to applaud Ray for his determination and steadfast persistence in posting to this web-page. The name itself encourages atheists to visit the site and he really gets a lot of them there. Every post he makes, within minuets starts getting comments. Ray has several regulars there who are arguing with him every day, they say things about Ray that are very ugly, they insult his intelligence regularly, and attack Christianity at every turn. The thing is, Ray has them right where he wants them. They are looking at the truth – it’s staring them right in the face, and Ray is effectively putting the word of God before them. Now whether the seed sprouts and grows, is not up to Ray, that’s up to God, but I really think Ray Comfort is doing a great job with this blog of his. In fact, I think he’s doing such a good job that starting today he will have a place in my “very useful” links on this web-page.
Recently I was reading one particular post on Atheist Central and it spoke about the moral laws of the Bible, and the atheists began saying that the Bible was an insufficient moral guide. Here is the particular post I’m talking about if you want to have a look. Confused Atheist
I think that the people who were saying the Bible was not a good moral guide have either never read, or never understood the heart of what Jesus was saying here in Matthew 5. These are some pretty tough standards, and if you really follow them, you’re going to be living a life so near perfection that it would make some Saints look like playground bullies.
We are to love not only those who love us back, but our enemies as well. We are to pray for those who curse us and persecute us. Once you really start thinking about how you would have to act if you were truly living your life like this, its overwhelmingly far reaching in the practical sense of how you have to act morally. To remove all animosity for other human beings is not an easy thing to do. Try to do that just with those close to you, just your family, your friends, those who you deal with every day and see how hard it can be to really have a clean slate when it comes to loving others. Just doing it for those who we really do love is hard enough, but Jesus said, that’s not enough, we can’t stop at loving those who love us, we have to also love our enemies.
It’s not an easy way, but it is the right way. If you practice love toward those who are hard for you to love, you’ll see some miraculous things happen. I know its hard to do it all the time, but start by doing it whenever you can. Start by loving someone today that you’ve had a difficult time with. You don’t have to do anything extravagant, just try saying a prayer for them, or be friendly to them the next time you see them. It’s ok if the seeds you start are small, seeds grow, but they do have to be planted.
Prayer: Heavenly Father,
Please help me to serve you by loving those who you have placed in my path. Even those who I have had difficulty with, those who I have had animosity toward, help me especially to love them. Help me to put aside all animosity, and let it give place to brotherly/sisterly love. Help me to reach out and show them that I can love them even when they don’t love me, that I can be kind, even when being dealt with in an unkind manner. Forgive me God when I fail in this task, and help me to correct my path and follow you in all that ever I do.
Yield: I give up my tendencies to show love only to those who return it to me. Help me to love all those hard to love people in my life.