April 11 - Matthew 5:43-48

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 11 - Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jesus refuses to relent on this. We are to love, no matter the cost. It matters not whether we consider someone to be an enemy, we are to love them and we are to pray for those who persecute us.  Have you ever attempted to hate someone while praying for them?  It’s nearly impossible. Just imagining that person being held in God’s arms kind of puts a damper on hating them.

When my sister and brother and I were small, Mom and Dad had a perfect method of helping us manage past our anger at each other.  All of us remember it and though it wasn't much fun at the time, it certainly held us together.

If two of us were fighting and it was loud enough for either Mom or Dad to hear, they quickly got involved and would plant the two beside each other on one of the steps going upstairs.  We had to sit there beside each other until we could give the other one a hug and tell them that we loved them.  This was very effective parenting, because once that happened, there was no way to remain angry at the other and off we would go to play again.

Love ends hatred. The two can’t exist together.  Choose love.