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Love Your Enemies

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Matthew 5:43-48 (HCSB)
“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, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Let’s get real.

In light of the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France, where 80+ people were brutally run down by a large truck, we may find ourselves struggling to love those who harm others. In fact, it is far easier to hate them, excluding them from God’s command to love our enemies. Exercising love to our enemies can be downright painful. Taking it even further, we may automatically assume it is an Islamic terrorist attack and our minds immediately add that to the hate registry in our hearts. 

Last month at Glen Meadows, we had the privilege of hearing from John Wainwright (an expert on the Quran). John shared many enlightening facts that opened our eyes to the world of Islam. Following that experience, I found myself passionately talking about how the Church needs to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We need to become missional in our hearts and our actions to reach all who are lost…including Muslims. After all, Christ wishes that none would perish (2 Peter 3:9).

Jesus is calling us to make disciples of everyone, not the ones we find it easy to love

Even with Love being the greatest command (Matthew 22:34-40), and Making Disciples of “All Nations” (Matthew 28:18-20) the mission, we find ourselves living out a difficult conundrum in our hearts. The conundrum is this… love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us or hate them and retreat from His mission. Do we truly believe that Christ's command to make disciples includes “All Nations”? Jesus is calling us to make disciples of everyone, not the ones we find it easy to love but “all” people, even during times where evil is brutally and senselessly massacring the innocent. Yes, Jesus is calling us to join Him in His mission to reach the lost (Luke 19:10). It is not up to us to decide who qualifies for Christ’s love, it is not up to us to decide when and where we live out His mission. It is our responsibility to love “all” people, even when every fiber in our being wants to hate our enemies, and bring man’s justice upon them. Make no mistake, this is a tragedy and an evil act of violence. The question is, how do we respond?

 This morning I invite all of you to join me in prayer:

  1. That the Lord brings comfort to those who are mourning the loss of loved ones.
  2. That my heart does not become hard toward a people who need to know Christ.
  3. That my passion for being on mission with Christ, does not shrink back in fear but instead grows bolder in these perilous times.
  4. That the Father is exalted and glorified by His Church.

Peace,

Jim Booth

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