Daily Devotion - September 3 - Love Your Enemies

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Today’s Devotion – September 3, 2020
Reading:
Luke 6:27-36
Love Your Enemies

The date was May 2, 2011. It was just after 1:00, Monday morning. I was driving into DC for two weeks of reserve training and listening to the news that Osama Bin Laden had been captured and killed. As I entered the city, I noticed lots of people out in the street celebrating and cheering about his death. From an American’s perspective, I viewed Osama Bin Laden as an evil person and in my heart, I initially was happy to hear that he would no longer be able to lead in numerous planned attacks against America. But then, in a very real way, the Lord spoke to me… not in an audible way but in a very memorable way. The message was clear… “Connie, instead of being happy that this man is dead… this man, whom I know took many lives and orchestrated many attacks killing many people… do you ever think about being mournful and sorry about where he may be spending eternity? Did you ever think about my Scripture which says to love your enemies? That’s right, love those and do good to those who hate you… right now, as you are celebrating in your heart over his death, did you ever once pray for me (God) to change his heart”? In those moments of conviction, I was reminded that no matter how bad the acts of our enemies, we need to love them, turn the other cheek, give them the shirt off of our back…? This is contrary to how we are wired but is a command spoken by Jesus. In that moment, I stopped my cheering and asked God to move me to pray for those who hurt me or in this case, who hurt me, my family, my friends and my country, no matter how difficult that may be. Don’t get me wrong, Osama did some really awful things and God has and will deal with that. But Jesus commands each of us, who call ourselves followers of Christ…Christians, to love our enemies.

These days, as I feel the anger rise when someone has wronged me or my loved ones or even defied my Lord, I am reminded to bow my head in prayer for them, that God may change my heart first, and then change their hearts. On my own, I am unable to love my enemies, but God can melt my heart and lead me to pray for my enemies, moving me one step closer to loving them. Today’s passage in Luke 6:27-36, Jesus  reminds us of this extreme act of loving our enemies. While exceedingly difficult to comprehend, we are reminded to love God and neighbor, to include those who hate us, yet acknowledging, that is easier to just stick to only loving those who love us.

Right now, we are in a time of great division and disagreement in our country. There is lots of hatred being displayed and lots of discontentment and disagreement. The next time you and I experience feelings of hatred rising up for those with whom we disagree, I would challenge you to bow your head and ask the good Lord to remove those feelings and thoughts from you. There is no place for hatred in the lives of the Christian. God is both merciful and just and will take care of the consequences of those who do harm and are not righteous. God’s Son, Jesus, has commanded us to love our enemies. Let’s pray for the power and strength to do just that instead of lashing out in anger and hatred… loving our enemies is the way of Jesus Christ.

Dear God, thank you for Your Word which challenges us to do that which, in our humanness, seems impossible. Help us to do that which seems unfathomable in these difficult times of such divisiveness and hatred and that is to love… to love even our enemies and pray for them and for you to move us towards love. Help us to follow the example of your Son, Jesus, who on the cross said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what the do”. And it is in His name we pray. Amen.

 
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