Friday, 20 October 2017

Love Your Enemies

Scripture: Luke 6 v 35:  "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind to the unthankful and the evil."

Romans 12 v 17 - 19: "Do not pay anyone back evil for evil, but focus your thoughts on what is right in the sight of all people.
 18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.
 19  Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord.

It is always difficult to love sinners the way God does, to be kind to ungrateful, evil people is often beyond our ability.  He tells us not to judge, criticize or condemn, but to look deeper into the circumstances of those we disagree with.

When we consider the atrocities of ISIS - the destructive Islamic psychopaths running rampant in the areas of Iraq and Syria -  we fear and are afraid of being faced with an enemy like that.  Their reign of terror in Iraq is now ended but the soldiers run small groups in cities of Europe, USA, Australia to bring terror on innocent people in malls and coffee shops.  How can we love them?

What the media don't report is what Christians in those areas are doing.  Believers are taking these evil people into their homes, even after they have killed their family members, and giving them food and love and the gospel. Hundreds, if not thousands, of militants have converted to Christianity through the love and kindness of God's people.  Fear breeds hatred and rejection, but the love of Jesus overcomes fear.

The sinners of the world are won by love, God's love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Its the one thing Satan and his people cannot copy. His best display is just lust.   Lust is an evil spirit and it has no respect of persons.  The true, pure love of Christians will conquer the hardest, meanest heart. 

I am reminded of a testimony from Holland. A factory owner saw his factory being broken into late one Friday night. He drove up to where their truck was parked and helped them fill it with the goods out of his warehouse. The astonished robbers asked who he was. He said I am the owner.

Why are you doing this, they asked. He answered, "Because Jesus loves you, I love you, and I can withhold nothing from you." The truck sped off. On Sunday afternoon the factory owner noticed that same truck at his warehouse offloading everything they had taken. He asked why and they said, we could not steal from someone who loves us, we want to receive Jesus as our Lord and live honestly from now on.  This is a true testimony.

We are here to extend the Kingdom of God as His Ambassadors. The greatest asset we have is love that comes from our Father, for God is love. You have never truly loved until you have loved an enemy.

Over the years of this ministry many strange and troubled people have visited for prayer and help.  One man stands out whose need touched my heart.  When he was a young German soldier he was caught up in the Nazi regime and sent to Auschwitz where he was made to herd Jews into gas chambers.

He heard them crying out to God and even calling on the name of Jesus before they died.  He escaped after the War and came to South Africa, where he could not escape the horrific memories and his part in the Holocaust.  He wept as he told me he never could receive God's forgiveness as he could not forgive himself.

Through prayer and the words in 1 John 1 v 7 - 10: "But if we keep living in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
 8  If we say that we do not have any sin, we are deceiving ourselves and we’re not being truthful to ourselves.
 9  If we make it our habit to confess our sins, in his faithful righteousness he forgives us for those sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
 10  If we say that we have never sinned, we make him a liar and his word has no place in us."  On these words he began a new life in Christ and was born again.

God brought him to me to release him from self-condemnation, guilt and fear.  God loved him and saw his heart.  He had been trapped for many years in this terror.  We have to follow the love of God and be instruments in His hands when dealing with enemies.

As Christians our enemies can be amongst people who were our close friends before we met Jesus.  Satan can use them to try and keep you hooked into the world.  Be alert to those who want you to compromise your faith to belittle those Christians who are now part of your family.  Love your enemies enough to speak the truth about Jesus to them.

The love of Jesus is not romantic affection nor sweet words.  It is speaking the truth about God, heaven and Jesus Christ to those who are lost.  Love sent Jesus to the Cross for every human being, and Jesus in us wants to tell the world about it.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You loved us while we were yet sinners.  Your love sent Jesus to the Cross to remove us from death and destruction in Hell. We cannot pick and choose who deserves love, we must love one another as You love us. We must love our enemies and win them out of a loveless world into Your glorious Kingdom. In Jesus' name. Amen.