“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.’ But I say, don’t resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.
“If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:38-48 NLT)
This where a real man or woman of God proves their mettle. Do you love Jesus? Give up your rights… That’s a powerful message for the church in America today.
One of the things we do well in this country is defend our rights, and if we believe someone violates those rights, we take them to court. Imagine with me for just a few minutes what it would be like to live in a world where we obeyed Jesus’ commands… and understand this, Jesus wasn’t interested in whether His commands were fair or unfair.
I believe it comes down to love. Do I choose to love the person who takes the credit for something I did? If I do, let him/her have the credit. God knows the truth. Do I choose to love the person who just took the shirt off my back? If I do, then let me get my coat and give that to him/her as well. And what if my boss unjustly demands that I stay and work overtime for an extra hour without overtime pay? If I love him/her, not only will I do it, but I’ll stay as long as it takes to complete the project.
This kind of thinking goes against the grain. It goes against everything we’ve been taught in our lives. Jesus takes everything we’ve ever been taught about what’s fair and just, what’s right and wrong, and He turns it upside down. He tells us to do things that rub us wrong, things that make every hair on the back of our necks stand on end.
He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Love my enemies??? Pray for those who persecute me??? Lord, don’t you even care about my feelings? This doesn’t make a bit of sense!
What about justice? What about right and wrong? How do you love someone who has abused you? How do you love someone who has mortally wounded you? And you’re asking me to pray for someone who has permanently damaged me? You’re asking me to pray for them and not against them? What kind of sense does this make? I don’t understand!
“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)
Ok Lord, but You just commanded us to be perfect just as my heavenly Father is perfect. Everybody says nobody’s perfect, so how can You tell me to be perfect? Isn’t that impossible?
“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NLT)
Ok Lord, I hear what You’re telling me and I want to believe You, but how can I love my enemies and be perfect like You are? Help me Lord, to see things as You see them, to see people as You see them, and to love them as You love them… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)
Thank You Lord!
Cheryl A. Showers