FORGIVENESS AND HOPE
Read: Matthew 5:43-46
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? (NIV Matthew 5:43-46)
Study: Jesus was not much concerned with assigning blame for the bad things that happen in life, but rather with bringing healing. He taught that God doesn’t send bad things into our lives, but rather can find ways to redeem even those when they happen. Jesus said that God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust alike. How often are you tempted to limit your help and your efforts to bless only to people you like, or consider “worthy”? How do you understand the idea of loving your enemies? Do you believe Jesus meant having mushy, affectionate feelings about them, or choosing to act for their good despite what they have done? How can making those hard choices help you grow in character and maturity?
Pray: Lord Jesus, hate is so tempting—and, in the end, so destructive to me, and to your purposes for my life. Teach me more each day about how to love and pray for even my enemies. Amen.