““But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
Luke 6:27-31 NKJV
Love vs hate
I have endured much. When I reflect on my life, I think of all the things God has brought to me. I can, at times, spend a lot of time focusing on the wrongs from others. I don’t consider the past from a perspective of holding a grudge, but from the point of view that gives glory to God, as He has delivered me through those trials. He has also shown me that He is aware of the things that have been done, and has dealt with them in ways that only He can. Because I know the battle is the Lord’s, I have the joy and peace of being able to avoid the unbearable weight of anger pressing down on my heart.
The greatest miracle I have experienced in the midst of this journey is the Lord’s transformation of my heart. I have learned to love those who hate me. I have been given the ability to look into the hearts of others without bias. When I encounter opposition, I am better able to see what the circumstances are driving the conflict. I am also able to see what part I may have in it. I also consider the antecedants, the things going on in the other person’s life that have nothing to do with me. Often people strike out at the nearest target, even if that person has nothing to do with what things are happening in the deep background.
Human nature is to strike back, to hate the hater, to be given into the strife and meet opposition with opposition. As a christian, we are to do the hard thing: love when it seems impossible. This is not simply avoiding returning evil for evil, but actually doing good in the face of evil.
I find myself praying for those who go out and deal directly day in and day out in such situations. The police are under a cloud right now. They are in the position of being hated and still needed. They get calls in the middle of the night that take them into areas and neignborhoods where people seek to denigrate and even harm them. Yet they go.
I remember the shooter in Dallas who targeted police officers during a BLM protest back in 2016. One would think that the officers would have sought to protect themselves, but instead they went into guardian mode and protected the citizens who were moments before spewing hate, while others sought to neutralize shooter at great cost. I don’t know the spiritual lives of those officers, but to go about showing service in the face of hate amazed me.
We who believe are ambassadors to an increasing hostile world. We are to bring the good news to people who hate us. We bring that news not to judge, but to rescue people from judgement.
In my flesh, and in my dark moments, I find myself not wanting to share the Good News. But, alas, I am bound to my duty. In my salvation, I am bound to share the Gospel of Jesus in hostile times. I am often called narrow minded, homophobic, racist, old fashioned, and even a fascist. But i must persist in speaking truth in the face of opposition. I want no one to go to hell. Eternity in hell awaits all who do not seek the Lord’s forgiveness.
Loving those who hate me is so hard. If not for the power of the Holy Spirit, I could not do it. We are in scary times and it is so hard not to caught up in all the turmoil, and take sides. It is for the good of the Gospel that I remain above the fray. I urge you, sisters and brothers, to be about the Lord’s work. Remember that your allegiance is to Jesus. Your purpose for being here, for such a time as this, is to represent your Savior before a world that needs Christ. Time is short.
Like police and fire in New York on 9/11, we run to the crisis. As the world is suffering and being drawn to the fires of hell, we are running to the gates and storming them to save as many as possible. We have God, and the gates of hell will not prevail.
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