Love Not Hate

‘But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.’  Luke 6:35 (NIV)

We have all heard it.  We repeat the words often.  We teach others it is important.  But is it a quality which we actually strive to have?  How many of us really make a decent effort to be nice to those who would attack, insult, cheat or hurt us?  How many of us can actually say that we have that control over our hearts?  How many of us can make ourselves love these evil intended individuals who make our lives a difficult place?

Would it be safe to say that only some people even try?  Can we easily say that most, if not all of us fall short time and time again?  Would we be able to admit that even though we may make an effort, it just seems like an impossible thing to do?  Would we be right in saying that it is impossible?  Is it out of our hands?  Is it a bigger task to control our hearts, than the human being is capable of?  Are we just prone to trying to protect ourselves?

So then why would Jesus suggest that we even try?  If He knows we are creatures of habit and our instincts tell us to defend ourselves, why does He ask us not to?  We know the world would be a better place if at least some of us went around loving instead of thinking only of ourselves.  But just how can we get that far?  Would we need more than a little help to get over our tendencies?  Could this be where Jesus is leading us?

Can we just say that the whole idea is impossible?  Can we say that we are human and there will always be things we will struggle with?  Can we say that loving our enemies is one of these impossible tasks?  Ok, now that we have it sorted out, what can be done about it?  Will we need Someone wiser and stronger than we are to give us a hand?  Will we need to get as close to that Helper as we possibly can?  Could we get so focused on our relationship and our walk with the One who will provide what we lack, that when those trials come upon us, He is there to lend a hand?  Will this Helper need to be One Who has proven to be concerned about us?  Will He need to be One Who has accomplished what we would try to do?  Could Jesus Christ be the only One Who has this ability and has done this Himself?  Is it Him Whom we could draw near to?

Now that we have found a Way to finally achieve what we feel we should, what blessing will follow?  Our Helper, our Teacher, our Savior tells us even as He is instructing us.  “Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High!”  Wow!  Sons of the Most High!  Our reward is that God in Heaven will call us His children!  We are His!  We belong to Him!  There is a tie between us!  We are joined together!  Is there a better reward?  Is that the greatest reward we could imagine?

Dear Jesus, we have been told and have tried our whole lives to be good.  But we know when we fall short of loving and being kind to those who would hurt us.  Please let us come near to You.  Let us come so close that Your strength and Your power cover us where we fail.  We have heard of the reward for those who succeed.  We want to be called children of God!  We want to belong to Him!  So pull us ever closer.  Strengthen us with Your love.  Teach us every day what we still need to learn.  Help us to love.  Help us not to hate.  Help us so that we will belong to the Lord!

Amen

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