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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
February 16, 2001

This is what I say to all who will listen to me:
Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you.

Luke 6:27-28 (CEV*)

The conventional wisdom of this world is to hate your enemies and to be mean to those who hate you. We usually are inclined to pray only for those with whom we have a loving relationship.

Jesus repeatedly called on us to reject the conventional wisdom and live a different way. The kingdom of God that he preached is sometimes called the "upside-down kingdom" because he turned the world's wisdom on its head.

Jesus did not act like a worldly king, and puzzled those who expected the Messiah to come with the trappings of the kind of power they understood. They did not expect him to be condemned and executed. Jesus did not fight those involved in putting him to death, and prayed, Father, forgive these people! They don't know what they're doing. (Luke 23:34) He lived what he preached.

Living this way isn't always going to change the attitudes and behavior of others as we would wish, but it will change us. We should be seeking to be more Christ-like every day.

We have to overcome our human instincts to live this way. How do we do this? I think a key is to focus on God's love. If we meditate on how much God loves us, despite all our failings, we will find ourselves called - and wanting - to love like that. When we keep our focus on God's love, instead of our selfish desires and feelings, we will find our hearts changing - and our thoughts and actions will follow.

Let us start each day by meditating on God's love, and thanking God for it. Let us pray to God to transform us; to make us over into His image. Each time we find ourselves starting to respond to another with bitterness and hate, let's pause and reflect on God's unfailing love for us - and for whomever we are responding to. Instead of offering a curse, offer a prayer for this person that God loves.

Dear Lord, may I truly listen to what you are telling me. May I be filled with a sense of your unfailing love, and live my life in thankfulness for it. Take away all my bitterness and resentment, no matter how justified it may seem in the world's terms. Live in me, allowing me to show your love to all with whom I come in contact, especially any who hate me or curse me. Let me be a living example of your love. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2001 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 11:57:18 EST