Thursday, April 23, 2009

THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP - Post #4

Our Enemies

The commands in Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36 are, to say the least, difficult... even for the believer. It is another reminder why we MUST depend on the Holy Spirit to mold and shape our attitudes, and cry out to God to put in us a right spirit.

Love your enemies? Bless them? Pray for them? Come on, you've got to be kidding! Let's get back at them by condemning their sin and labeling them in our minds as unworthy of the grace of God. Let's partner with Christian friends in speaking evil of their coalitions and their politicians, inwardly thinking more of ourselves than we ought. Let's fight and debate with them at every turn, and forget about that whole total depravity thing. Let's think of them as fools. So says our flesh, does it not?

But what does Jesus tell us? Love them. Do good to them. Bless them. Pray for them. Lend to them. Turn the other cheek. But wait, Jesus... they will think of us Christians as doormats! But Jesus humbly reminds us of the attitude of the Most High: "... for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:35,36)

Remember. Remember. Remember!!! How does He deal with YOU?

Says Bonhoeffer:

"In the New Testament our enemies are those who harbour hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility, for Jesus refuses to reckon such a possibility. The Christian must treat his enemy as a brother, and requite his hostility with love. His behaviour must be determined not by the way others treat him, but by the treatment he himself receives from Jesus; it has only one source, and that is the will of Jesus...

... We are not to imagine that this is to condone his evil; such a love proceeds from strength rather than weakness, from truth rather than fear... If our enemy cannot put up with us any longer and takes to cursing us, our immediate reaction must be to lift up our hands and bless him... Their curse can do us no harm... We are ready to endure their curses so long as they redound to their blessing...

... For if we pray for them, we are taking their distress and poverty, their guilt and perdition upon ourselves, and pleading to God for them. We are doing vicariously for them what they cannot do for themselves. Every insult they utter only serves to bind us more closely to God and them. Their persecution of us only serves to bring them nearer to reconciliation with God and to further the triumphs of love."

When you read that, do you say, "Wow!" I sure do.

Be peculiar. Be extraordinary. Be Christian. Be what you are.
And till next time, may the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

1 comment:

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