One of the most difficult commandments from Jesus during His time on this planet is for us to love our enemies. Of course it’s easy to love those who love us in return, but those who hate us and hurt us?
If your child comes home one day, crushed by the cruel bullying of another –
If you lose your job, because your integrity has been called into question –
If you hear false words being said, gossip filling the air, abuse, hatred and the ugliness of our world currently –
If you or a loved one is being persecuted for what you believe –
If you’re fearful of going to work or school because there might be another mass shooting –
How can we possibly be accepting of those who perpetrate these crimes against us? How can we LOVE them? How can we possibly look them in the eye and truly forgive them for their evil acts against us?
Jesus also told His followers (and us) that we should love one another as we would want to be loved. Both of those commands stand harshly in the face of our natural feelings. Our instincts tell us to fight back. Retaliation is mentioned throughout the Old Testament. Even King David cried out against his enemies.
As Christians we’re set to higher standard, not because we are any better than our enemies, but because we are to be imitators of Christ. He withstood the sting of the scourge. He winced in pain as the nails pierced his flesh. He withstood humiliation, being spat upon and falsely called a blasphemer. In spite of all that, He willingly gave His life for every human being – past, present and future. He washed away the sins of Charles Manson, Judas Iscariot and Adolph Hitler right along with mine and yours. Unfortunately, those guys never asked for God’s forgiveness.
When He overcame death and rose again to life, He was sealing His legacy with us. He demonstrated what we have to look forward at our own death – life everlasting.
When we believe in Jesus as Son of God- Savior of the world – God with us – God in the flesh – we must also believe that His grace is sufficient for us. What a splendid gift we receive every time we confess our sins and are forgiven by Him. We then owe it to those who hurt us – those who bully or challenge our worth – those who lie about us – to let them know that you, like Christ, are willing to forgive as well.
Dear, Heavenly, Father,
It’s so hard to forgive those who have done us wrong, yet you found it in your heart to take on my sin, along with the sin of all, so that we could become heirs of your eternal kingdom. Your gift is beyond my comprehension. Teach me to forgive my enemies as your have forgiven them. Help me to show compassion to those who hurt me. I know I will not be perfect until I am joined with you in heaven. While I live, let my walk be upright and a reflection of what you’ve done for me and all of humanity. May the example of your humility, servant attitude, compassion and forgiveness spur me on to act in the same way. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!