DEVOTION: Matthew 5:38-48 English Standard Version (ESV)
Love Your Enemies
These are difficult passages to handle, simply because it is not in our human nature to do them. It is not our nature to love our enemies. It is not our nature to be passive. We want to resist. We want to fight back.
I can just see all the people sitting there listening to him and one by one looking down at the ground with grief on their faces as he convicts them of their sins of selfishness, wrath, unforgiveness, and so much more.
This is why, at the end of all this, Jesus says "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect. We will never be perfect at any of this. We will always fall short.
At the same time, he wants us to be this way, not to point to ourselves or our own piety or goodness, but in many and different ways, to point to Christ and his perfect piety and goodness.
Let me put it another way. What do you think is the best way to defeat your enemy without casualties? It is to make them your friends. And how do you make them your friends but by caring for their needs, going the extra mile with them, and not fighting back but forgiving instead. This works in every argument and every broken relationship as long as the other person is willing to accept you.
This is what Jesus has done for you. He has made you, his one time enemy, to become his "friend" or child. Instead of fighting back and destroying you, he came down to earth, became submissive even to death on a cross, and took the place you deserved.
Now, because you have been made alive in Christ, and because the Holy Spirit lives in you, you have the heart of Christ. So, more and more, though never completely or perfectly, you can follow the example of Christ. You can turn the other cheek. You can go the extra mile. You can give away your tunic. You can pray for and with your enemies. You can LOVE YOUR ENEMY, because you want what Christ wants for him, to be forgiven and have eternal life. Why? Because that's what Christ has done for you!
Remember that you will never do this perfectly or completely, but the more that your human heart is filled with the love of Christ, the more you will realize your shortcoming and how much that "while we were still sinners (enemies), Christ died for us." Then you will realize that everyone else is in the same boat as you and you can love them like Christ does.
Prayer: Lord, help me to love my enemies to the point that I want them to be forgiven and have eternal life just like I do. Amen.
Thurs- Lutheranism 101 6:30pm
Sat- Worship 5pm
Sun- Worship 8:30 and 11; Sunday school and Adult Bible class 9:45; Elders meeting noon
WORSHIP WORKERS FOR THIS COMING WEEKEND:
Acolyte- 8:30- Nova Luebke 11- Kalene Masters
Ushers- Larry Schulze, Scott Schulze, Gary Scott, Dave Winter
Altar- Set up- Don Hance; Clean up- Joann Hachtel
Elders- Sat- Randy Fischer; 8:30- Jason Cluver; 11- Jim Rahn
Greeters- 8:30- Paul and Cindy Klover; 11- Dan and Lisa Rausch
Lay Readers- Sat- Sandra Perricone; 8:30- Steve McDowell; 11- Jim Rahn
Piano- Kathy Barrow