"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
Do you want to make Jesus smile today? I do.
I want to untangle the thoughts of me and mine and what I have going on and think of someone else. A friend. A neighbor. A stranger.
I want to give her the gift of my words. Words formed because I thought of her. And those thoughts culminated into a compelling reason to show love to her.
But, I'm not talking about someone who is easy to love.
I'm saying I'll give this gift to someone who has hurt me, judged me, wronged me, or flat out offended me. Yes, that's the one to whom the gift should go.
To do so, we must dare ourselves to get intentional with this command from Scripture. "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14 NIV). And to pray.
Pray for an authentic heart while seeking to love this person. Not that we welcome that person into our inner circle and do daily life with her. But, offering love to those who hurt us, when most would scorn or ignore them, is beautiful and rare.
Dare to pray for an overwhelming sense of love. Not love for the difficult or hurtful situation that has arisen with this person, but love for the soul God created within them. She is His. He loves her. He treasures her even when He doesn't approve of her actions.
He treasures us even when He doesn't approve of our actions.
In the midst of giving what we might perceive as an undeserved gift of love to them, I wonder if our eyes might be opened to a different perspective. If we might see something we desperately need to see. About her. About ourselves. About our Jesus.
When someone says something ugly about me I need to consider the source. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a person receiving an undeserved gift of love from me, considered the source? And saw not me, but Jesus that reigns inside of me.
"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were ordinary, unschooled men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13 NIV).
Oh, let it be so noted with my life ... my words ... my love for those who love me ... and even more, my love for those who don't. I have been with Jesus. I love like He loves. Because He is the source of all love.
And I do believe He smiles about that.
Dear Lord, You are worthy to be praised! I pray today that You will give me a heart that seeks to bless others, even if they have wronged me. Help me to genuinely forgive them, for You have extended so much grace to me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources: In her New York Times best-selling book, Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst speaks very honestly about how to have better reactions and improve relationships. Click here to order your copy.
Reflect and Respond: Who could you give the gift of love to today?
Come to the Lord in prayer and ask for an overwhelming love of that person's soul. Be prepared for a perspective change as God shows you more about your own heart in this situation.
Power Verses: Luke 6:27-31, "But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (NIV)
Romans 12:14, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse," (NIV)
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