DayBreaks for 8/10/16 – What Love Really Means
From the DayBreaks Archive for August, 2006:
Matt. 5.43ff: Ye have heard that it was said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you, that ye may be sons of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.
From The Cost of Discipleship by Deitrich Bonhoeffer: “Here, for the first time in the Sermon on the Mount, we meet the word which sums up the whole of its message, the word “love”. Love is defined in uncompromising terms as the love of our enemies. Had Jesus only told us to love our brethren, we might have misunderstood what he meant by love, but now he leaves us in no doubt whatever as to his meaning.”
APPLICATION: Have you ever really thought of love in those terms? Isn’t the love that we have for those who are our enemies a much greater measure of our love than what we feel for those who are our friends? It’s easy to love friends and relatives (usually!!) It is another matter entirely to love those who see you as a weak person and who ridicule you for your faith, or who might even persecute you because they believe you are dangerous and your ideas about right and wrong might cramp their style or contradict theirs.
Wasn’t the love of God for His enemies (that’s us) the real measure of His love? We expect Him to love His son. What was unexpected was that He should love us as He does. And indeed, in the passage from Matthew, it is the love for our enemies that he says causes us to be sons of our Father. If our Father loves that way, we must be that way, too, if we are to bear the likeness of the Father.
What enemy are you having a hard time loving today? Is it someone who slighted you? Someone who laughed at you? Someone who treated you unfairly at work – maybe taking credit for something good that you did or possibly blaming you for something they did wrong? Is it a someone competing with you for a promotion? A competitor for someone’s affections? Perhaps a relative who wronged you? Identify someone that you need to love with the love that the Father has shown us. Pray about it. Ask the Spirit to show you how you can show love for them in a way that will bring glory to our Father. And then – do it! God will be pleased and you’ll have the peace that comes from knowing you are walking in the Father’s footsteps!
PRAYER: We all have enemies, or at the very least, we confess we have those who we don’t love the way we should. Help us, Jesus, to turn our enemies into loved ones. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.