“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” - Matthew 5:43-45a
Have you ever felt justified in your dislike of someone?
Have you ever felt justified in your mistreatment of someone?
It’s just you and God, so answer those questions honestly!
Most of us, when we are completely honest, have to admit we have found solid reasons for not liking or even mistreating someone. Maybe our feelings have even been directed at a whole group of people.
So, who is it for you?
Politicians? Televangelists? Teenagers? Slow drivers? Your in-laws? Your boss?
We can’t ignore the significance of how we think about other people. Over and over Scripture dismisses our seemingly justifiable reasons for disliking or mistreating others.
In Luke 9 Jesus’ disciples tried to stop a man from driving out demons because he was not one of the 12. However, Jesus responded, “Do not stop him. For whoever is not against you is for you.”
In the Church we find reasons to dislike people from different denominations, or those who have different theology. But are those people against us? If not, then Jesus says they are for us!
In fact, we may be out of line even trying to decide who is for us and who is against us. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds. A farmer’s field is inflicted with weeds sown among the wheat. The farmer’s servants offer to pull the weeds, but the farmer stops them because he fears some of the wheat will be destroyed in the process. He decides to sort the wheat from the weeds at harvest time.
We don’t get to sort the wheat from the weeds - or the sinners from the saints. God will do the sorting at the end of the story! Our job is to simply love the Lord and love people. We must make love the first thought in our minds when we look at the people in our lives!