Loving the Unlovely

May 10, 2016

 

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies 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.

Loving the Unlovely

Perhaps nothing stretches us more than trying to love your enemy.  Your enemy is against you.  They may slander, betray, undermine, curse and hurt you, physically, financially, emotionally, relationally and even physically.  A true enemy is not your friend, their goal is to inflict as much damage upon you in whatever way they can and get away with it.  

How do you love someone like that?  Certainly our natural love falls short in its response to such attempted perpetration of injury.  Our natural response is, defend ourselves, hit back and return an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  

Why would Jesus lay such an instruction like this upon us?  Perhaps it is because it causes us to appropriate a love that is not naturally ours.  If we are not walking in the Spirit and in the Spirit of His love how can we possibly be successful at truly loving our enemy.  It could be difficult enough to just tolerate him, but no, Jesus says love him.  Jesus didn’t ask us to do what He wasn’t willing to do.  He gave His life just as much for those that betrayed, mocked, scourged, falsely accused and eventually crucified Him as did for you and me.  If Jesus didn’t love His enemies He could have never came and willing gave Himself to be sacrificed for mankind.  Romans 5:6-11 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”  

What we don’t see is that in our enemy is someone that God loves and His love is greater than all of their hate, sin and ugliness.  We are that expression of His love and just as Jesus laid down His life for us while we were yet sinners, God wants us to love our enemies no less.  Part of being transformed into the image of Jesus is learning this principle.  Nothing teaches it to us like practical experience.  So thank God for our enemies, thank God for those that persecute and slander you, because they are the instruments that will bring forth the deeper working of God’s love through your life if you are yielding it to Him.  Through the death they bring, can come forth the greater revelation of God’s love through the Christ in you.  Remember, it is not about our being right, it is about laying hold of God’s righteousness.  

Enemies can do a deeper work of transforming us into the image of Christ than any other tool.  They can also reveal where we are not.  Thank God for your enemies, they are your friends in disguise to bring you more into the image of Christ and to manifest His love through you. 

Blessings,

#kent

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