More Than Words | Matthew 5:43-44 | Devotional
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….
You’ve heard the story about the country preacher who began his sermon by saying, “Some of you women here today are involved in gossip!” A man in the back of the room yelled, “Preach it, brother, preach it!” The preacher continued, “And some of you teenagers are not respecting you parents!” The same man hollered, “Preach it, brother, preach it!” “And one more thing,” the preacher added, “some of you men are so tight fisted with your money you are robbing from God!” The same man looked down and muttered, “Dadgummit, he just went from preaching to meddling.” I kind of feel that way with our passage today.
I can relate to the reasoning of Matthew 5:43. I love hanging out with “neighbors.” That’s a good time. Joking around. Laughing. Investing in the life of people you like. I can handle that. And my enemy? Why would I want to give the time of day to someone out to get me? But then, as He often does, Jesus goes from preaching to inspired authoritative “meddling.” Jesus’ purpose is not to tell me what I am comfortable hearing. His messages tell me what I need to hear and sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.
So I have to add some people to my prayer list. As I write their names, emotions such as irritation, dislike, frustration, even anger rise to the surface. These are people I’d rather not think about and now I have to talk to God about. Hey, no one said this would be easy. If somehow you thought following Christ was going to be a cakewalk, you’ve been getting some bad information.
Father, I don’t want to love people who hurt me or those I love. It is not in my nature. I want to obey You, but I will need Your supernatural help. This is one more thing I can add to the list of “Things I Cannot Do on My Own.” Give me what I need to love and pray for my enemies. In Jesus’ name. Amen.