Matthew 5:43-45-“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
I realize that one is kinda long to memorize, but I think we’d do well to remember it.
Last time I wrote about feeling your pain, and understanding where you are at this point in your life. This week is a continuation of that. See, I’m really feeling it now. It’s hard trying to be someone for God when the world instantly makes you out to be something else entirely.
You want to stand out in a crowd? Be a Christ follower and walk out into the world. You will have an immediate bulls-eye on your back, front, side; wherever the enemy can put one.
We can get labeled and tagged immediately, without even trying. We can do or say one wrong thing and immediately the whole church is on trial and people say that we are the reason they don’t go to church. We can be labeled as the fault and reason for every problem in the world today without even breaking a sweat.
I had a different verse today. I wanted one in which someone asked God to smite their oppressors, and defend them from harm; but that one didn’t feel right. I don’t think those are the kind of feelings God wanted me to harbor today.
See, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m still being perfected. So, I still make mistakes. Sometimes, people see things they want to see, not because they actually see them, but because it’s easier for them. It happens in your life as well, doesn’t it? We each have our own deal with the world and how it sees us.
Sometimes it keeps me up at night wondering why people can think the things they do about us as Christians. And when you get blindsided by your circumstances, and labeled for your imperfections, it makes it worse.
You begin to wonder why you should even try to reach out to those around you. You begin to stop seeing the merit in being the hands and feet of Christ in your circle of influence. Or worse yet, it causes your circle to decrease in size dramatically.
You don’t want to reach out anymore; you just want to withdraw and leave it to someone else. You want to just disconnect from the rest of the world, take your Christianity, and just go to the house. “It’s not worth it anymore, God,” you state. “I’m tired of trying. I’m not the right person; you need to send someone else to do this, because I just give up.”
We begin to dictate to God how He reaches the world.
So, instead of dictating to God in the loud voice I initially heard to smite the oppressors, I turned my spiritual hearing aid up. I listened to the still, small voice that told me that I am a son of God. I heard the plan from the lips of my Father in heaven that said I have placed you here for such a time as this.
And instead of asking God how much longer this time will be, so I can see the wicked struck down, I asked Him to give me strength to do it one more day.
And tomorrow, I’ll ask Him again; and the next day, and the next, and the next. I’ll just have to keep looking up to Him for my daily strength (bread), and to forgive me, as I forgive those around me.
I have to take it as a learning lesson for something bigger that God has in store for my life. I have to give God a chance to work through bad in my life and bring good out of it, instead of immediately throwing in the towel and looking for the sideline.
It’s football season. Sometimes, you’re having a bang-up year, and beating everyone in your conference. Sometimes, you lose a game here or there. And sometimes, you barely eke out a season to break even. You try not to lose more than you win.
The game is just now coming into the 4th quarter. Jesus is closer to coming back today than He was yesterday. I’m tired, and I’m beat up. Now the time is at hand for the greatest victory of all. Now is the time to make the greatest effort of all.
Now is the time for our biggest push. If you’ve been knocked down, don’t stay down. There is no shame in being knocked down; only in staying down. There is no shame in falling; only in not getting back on your feet.
The greatest game of your life is still being played. Don’t give up on the Coach now; believe in Him. He already knows the final score.
He’s already told you that you are His most valuable player. He loves you, and would never let the opposing team run up the score on you.
Continue to do good for those around you, even when it seems absolutely insane. Continue to pray for those around you, even when you don’t like them.
Here comes the play; let’s get back out on the field.
Be blessed in the Lord today,