Tuesday, 20 July 2021

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 14 - 17: "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 
17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men."

It is always difficult to love sinners the way God does, to be kind to ungrateful, evil people is often beyond our ability.  We cannot tolerate injustice, unfairness and letting people get away with murder.  As followers of Jesus we have to be like He is, not in looks, fashion wear or hairstyle but in His love, kindness and forgiveness for the most horrible sins.

The well known atrocities of ISIS - the destructive Islamic psychopaths who were running rampant in the areas of Iran, Iraq and Syria, and are now causing grief in Mozambique, made every normal human shudder. What has never been reported in the media is what Christians in those areas were doing about ISIS.

Believers took these evil people into their homes, even after they had killed their own family members, and gave them food, love and the gospel. Hundreds, if not thousands, of militants have converted to Christianity through the love and kindness of God's people.  

These radicalized militants became horrified by what they were made to do and fearful of the consequences.  They had seen the faith, courage and peace of those they were killing.  The Holy Spirit brought them to their knees, and to ask forgiveness from the families of the victims.  It seems they were ready to be killed by these Christians, but found the love of Jesus instead.

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 and affection. The true, pure love of Christians will conquer the hardest, meanest heart. 

I am reminded of a Christian testimony from Holland.  The wonderful Corrie ten Boom, who with her sister, was arrested by the Nazis during the war because they harboured Jews in their home and helped them escape.  

After several years in the camps during which time Corrie prayed and preached to the other prisoners, just the day before she was due to go to the gas chamber, Corrie was released from the prison on her own.  They took her to the gate, opened it and let her go without a word.

She travelled the world to share the love of Jesus until the day she preached in Germany and a horrifying person stood before her to receive the salvation of God.  He was none other than the fearful Kommandant of the camp in which her sister died along with so many others.

Corrine was frozen, unable to speak, shaking with emotion.  Eventually Jesus in her heart calmed her enough to pray with him.  She also told him she recognized him and took the opportunity to forgive him.  Afterwards she knew that Jesus had at that moment released her from years of suppressed anger and bitterness and set her free.

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.

There are atrocities of the past that breed hatred, racism, bitterness, unforgiveness, distrust and revenge.  To bridge these huge rifts we need to apply the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.  He asked His Father to forgive us all sins while He was dying.  And God did.  He set us free of guilt and all evil, and we must be willing to do likewise.

We are going through situations in South Africa that have shocked people around the world.  The horrors of last week are having many repercussions with those who run food aid organisations working overtime to reach those who have been left destitute.

Otherwise the Body of Christ will never be unified.  It will remain divided into denominations, sects, groups and organisations.  The world is aiming at unity through the Interfaith movement but that means Christians must compromise and mingle truth with lies.  That will only bring more pain and factions.  

We are called to walk with God in the power of the Holy Spirit.  They represent absolute truth.  We are called to love our enemies in the hope of bringing salvation to them.  We are called to love, forgive and bless those who seek Jesus as Saviour.

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.