Ok, I’m not going to hide this from you…but…today’s reading is hard core! Today we will dig into some of the greatest challenges that the Bible gives us and if we let the words speak into our hearts it may sting a little (or a lot!). Let’s think of Snow White’s friends in the mine – on a day like today, they wouldn’t have been playing around with little picks and shovels. This is a day for explosives!
You see there’s a real big gem here to be uncovered. It’s a precious stone of amazing beauty. It’s a diamond so dazzling that when someone sees it they’re almost blinded by how special and unique it is. But it’s going to take supernatural power to have this gem decorate our lives!
Reading: Luke 6 v 27-36
See what I mean? Jesus tells us in this passage that by loving those that love us back we’re not really doing anything special. As Christians we should have much more special fruit in our lives than this.
Make a list of what these verses tell us to do. If you can, read this passage in some other versions of the Bible to help you really get it! Eugene Peterson, writing these verses in his own words, says
“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst…….If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practise the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
- Think of an example recently where you felt you were treated unfairly or were on the receiving end of some harsh treatment from others. Write down how you acted and now compare that to how you think the verses would say you should have acted. Did it bring out the best in you or the worst?
- Who would you describe as your enemy? You may not know how to do good to them, but verse 28 is the starting point: PRAY FOR THEM! Could you write down a prayer for God to bless someone who hasn’t been treating you very well? As you continue to pray for this person this week, God will change your heart towards them. Wait and see!
Remember the massive sparkly gem we mentioned at the beginning? You see this is it. If we can love people when they least deserve it, this will really sparkle and shine out to others. People will notice this gem in our lives as being very unusual and so it will point them to God. This kind of love requires supernatural power and will have supernatural impact! Someone who learned all about loving her enemies was Corrie ten Boom, who suffered so much in a Concentration Camp in World War II. You can read her amazing story in her brilliant book “The Hiding Place” or when you have some extra time (7 mins), click on the picture below to listen to Corrie talk about how God gave her the strength to forgive those who had abused her.
Tomorrow we will look at how Jesus set us the perfect example for how to love our enemies. This doesn’t just mean the Roman soldiers who crucified him or the Pharisees who hated him; it means US. We were Christ’s enemies and yet He loved us enough to die for us. Remembering how we received love when we didn’t deserve it should help us to love others who don’t deserve it.
Reading: Romans 5 v 8
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”