“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:43-48 Message
I was thinking about how easy it is to love those who love you, but how very difficult it is to love those who criticize you and say mean and nasty things about you and sometimes to you. I often wonder how Jesus did it-you know-die for those who had just beat him and yelled ‘crucify him’.
You probably think, well he’s God son so he has Gods nature, easy peasy! But the truth is that the moment we believed upon Jesus, we too became Gods children. Look with me at Romans 8:15-17;
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Father and children, that is what we are and because of that, we can love like that. It only becomes easy when we see our own sin forgiven. Every opportunity we’re given to show that same love and forgiveness is a chance for someone to know our Father. That’s how He did it. He wanted us to know Father as He did.
I will choose to love the haters. I will choose to love the hurters. I will choose to love them because You first loved me and purchased my salvation on Calvary. In Jesus’ precious and lovely name, Amen.