Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Weekly Devotion: Loving our enemies intentionally

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children 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.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48

Let’s take note that it doesn’t say to like our enemies.  Jesus used the word love intentionally, and the word love here means agape which is the highest form of love, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances, that is also understanding and creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. "An overflowing love which seeks nothing in return, agape is the love of God operating in the human heart. At this level, we love men not because we like them, nor because their ways appeal to us, nor even because they possess some type of divine spark; we love every man because God loves him.”  (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, from his sermon On Loving Your Enemies)

So, we have clear instructions to love our enemies, and are likely expected to do it intentionally.  Here are a few ways we can start:  put our phones down, speak with our neighbors, greet others, treat others with respect and love, be quick to listen and slow to speak, quick to forgive those who wrong us, pray for our enemies, …  What other things can we do to live this out?

Dear Lord,
            Thank you for making us each different and unique.  Please help us to love our enemies and discover the meaning of what that looks like in our day to day lives.  I’d like to lift up my enemies today in prayer, please help them to get through the day and bless them.  If it is your will, I pray they come to know you and love you.  
In Your precious name,

When I made this pic last week for MLK Jr. Day, I didn't realize
this quote was from part of his sermon on Loving your Enemies.  

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