Friday, July 19, 2013

Do Good to Your Enemy

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you … Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:27b,35c (NIV)

Suddenly, in the midst of my quiet time, the words, “love your enemies,” jumped out at me. I read that verse many times, but that day they came alive for me.
I continued to struggle with anger toward my former husband, but God was clearly telling me to love the one who had chosen to become my enemy. Further on in the passage, I noticed that I was to expect nothing in return for showing kindness to this person who betrayed me. Even if this “enemy” did not respond or change, God would reward me for my efforts to reach out with forgiving love. Jesus was teaching me about His unconditional love.

As God’s child, I was being encouraged to feel compassion for someone who had hurt me and our children. Returning good for evil might result in a change of heart in the man who had chosen to turn away from his family. Romans 12:20-21 speaks of doing kind things to enemies because those actions may bring about their repentance. Even if I detect no change, my responsibility before God is to “love my enemy” and forgive him. The rest is in God’s hands.
Most of us struggle with forgiving someone who has hurt us, but God calls us to love those who have wronged us. How? We remember the forgiveness Jesus revealed when He died on the cross for our sins.

Father, teach us to love our enemies and forgive those who have hurt us.

© 2013 Diane E. Hussey




Sunday, July 14, 2013

All of You

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28 (NIV)

At Easter our church performed a dramatic reading of Christ’s path to the cross. Something curious leapt out as they read Jesus’ words at the Last Supper. He told all of the disciples to drink—even Judas, knowing He would betray Him.

I often think about Judas: what horror he must have felt upon realizing the magnitude of his sin. His silhouette swaying back and forth from the limb of a tree professed bleak remorse. But even at the last, as treachery simmered in his heart, Christ extended to him the blood of the new covenant. Sadly, He did not avail himself of its power, choosing instead to continue down the path of betrayal.

What about me? Are the body and blood of Christ only words, or am I a living epistle, transformed by them? Is the new covenant only for those who follow Christ, or does it extend even to those who have wronged me? Do I say with Him, as He offers the cup to my tormentors, “drink from it, all of you”?

God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Throughout the ages it has been so. How fitting, then, that even as His word, the Bible, concludes, the water of life is offered freely to whosoever will come (Revelation 22:17).

Lord, make me like you, seeing see with your eyes, loving with your heart, and gladly extending to all the cup of salvation that was freely extended to me.

© 2013 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, July 5, 2013

Parking Garage

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 (KJV)

Finding a car in a parking garage shouldn’t be this difficult. I walked up the stairwell to the third level and headed toward where I parked my car. Oddly, it wasn’t where I was sure I’d left it, but I could see it facing me, across a metal rail.

I walked up around the ramp, but my car wasn’t there. Returning to my original vantage point, I saw it again: my car, with my license plate. It was right there in front of me, but I couldn’t get to it. Up and back, up and back I went, seeing my car, not reaching my car.

In desperation, I prepared to propel myself from the metal rail, across the several storey drop, over and up to the rail in front of my vehicle. The distance was more than my height, but I was pretty sure I could do it.

“Don’t!” called a woman in an SUV. She explained there were two levels with the same number--double ramps. Go down the stairwell and up the other set of stairs.

Oh the things we go through to get places in life, to find what it is we are looking for, to get what is just out of our reach, to be “happy”. Our culture creates illusions of good answers, but we end up going in circles and finishing empty, when all the while we could have all that we need through Jesus.

Father, help us not to be distracted by the directions our culture points us in, but instead to focus on You for our direction. Amen.

©2013 Nance