“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father 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. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48I read this passage of scripture and it almost brings tears to my eyes. Never has it been more needed than at this moment. When I feel beaten down Christ gently reminds me of what true commitment to Him is. I love Him more that anything and I want nothing more than to please Him. I know the price He paid for me; the suffering, the pain, the humiliation, and the rejection. Every hurt that I have ever known, whether it be physical or emotional, He has felt it...tenfold. So knowing that, and knowing that He forgave His enemies (in fact, He died for them) helps me to move to a place of forgiveness towards my "enemies", and not just forgive, but to love them.
How can we possibly "love" our enemies? Well, I seriously doubt we are suddenly expected to send roses their way. No...it's a different kind of love. It means praying for them. And I don't think that prayer involves the words, "Lord, please give 'em what's coming to 'em!" I believe it means praying for their souls, first and foremost, and that the Holy Spirit will shine a light into their dark world. It also means praying for blessing from God, and that they might see His grace through it.
So why even bother - human nature would really enjoy seeing revenge played out. Well, for one thing, it frees us. It lets God be who He is while we sit back as trust Him to do His will, for us and for them. It also means we believe Him. Sure, it's easy to say we believe in Him, but what about when we have opportunity to show we BELIEVE Him. Hasn't He promised He would never leave us or forsake us? That means He has us in His perfect care even when our enemies strike us. It also proves that our love for Him is authentic. Like the scripture says, anyone can love those who love them back, but loving the "unlovely" is a true reflection of Christ and it can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. Again, that means we give it to the Lord and when we do He gives us all the ability we need.
And why am I so emotional about this passage now? Because I'm given first-hand opportunity to put it into action. In the month of April my husband and I have been working through the sale of our house and waiting for it to close. When the title report came in we were saddened to see that two separate parties have clouded our title. Both of these parties have made it clear that they would like to see the sale of our home not go through. Plain and simple, they want to harm us. It is pure hatred and their actions are vindictive. So with that said, we can sit here and cry and ask, "why, why, why?" Or, we can give it to the Lord and let Him lead us through it. I can't say for sure how it will all turn out. I just know (because I have the promise of His Word and it has never failed me) that our faith in His goodness outweighs the outcome of the situation. One way or another...we will be blessed.