Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sabbath, July 9, 2016
Today’s Scripture Focus: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44–45).
Our Lord’s imperative to love the unlovable, bless the “obviously” curse-able, do good to the overtly hateful, and to pray for those who try to strip your humanity in persecution, is as practical as it gets. And there is an inherent presupposition for the keen reader. He then underscores His model behavior – His model example. He says that He makes the sun to rise upon the evil and the just. He says that He sends rain upon the evil and the just. He shows unconditional love to the evil as well as the just. The presupposition can be observed in His transitional phrase, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”
He presupposes you, dear friend, even care to be His child. He presupposes that if you care to be His child that you are willing to be transformed by His Spirit. He presumes that having received His love and experienced His Spirit that a miracle will have taken place in you. Of course, a miracle is what it takes here. You will now be able to participate in His holy response to just and unjust people. If you are unwilling to include yourself in this experience, it is one thing; however, if you are willing to be called God’s child, you must participate in this process with humility – we all must.
Grace Toward Enemies
The Bible says that we should be holy just like God is holy. It says that we should let the mind of Christ reside in and shine forth from us. The Bible says Jesus came to save His own people and many did not receive Him. Oh, and don’t forget the one about all of us being born antagonistic toward God. And remember Jesus dying for us even though at one point, we did not love Him either. His grace toward His enemies (each and every one of us) is why any of us even have the privilege of experiencing eternal life. If God did not do the impossible by reaching out to those who hated Him, persecuted Him, despitefully used Him, or bless those who cursed Him, we would all be dead. Real talk.
If God did not do the impossible by reaching out to those who hated Him, persecuted Him, despitefully used Him, or bless those who cursed Him, we would all be dead. Real talk.
In The Spirit Of The King
So, fight against injustice, engage your politicians, declare that status quo is not acceptable, but do so in the spirit of your King. Those who are praying for their enemies do not kill innocent people because those people remind you of your enemy. Those who do good to those who hate you do so actively and deliberately. Those who bless those that curse them do not use hatred as an excuse to abandon faith under pressure and behave hatefully.
Far from an indictment of your humanity is today’s devotional thought. It is rather a solution and an undergirding for all you must do as you serve in a hateful world.
Receive God’s Spirit. Accept Jesus’ example. Move according to His blueprint. Stand up against all evil everywhere, including that which attempts to destroy you from within.