Friday, July 15, 2016

Loving our Enemies

Matthew 24:12-14 - And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Ugh. As I read this scripture I contemplated the thought that has been repeatedly going through my head these days, Lord, I know we are to love as You do, but I can't do this without Your help. We are called to love our enemies but when they wreak havoc on innocent people, how do I do that? How do I speak Your word in love like You do? You used words of offense at times. You spoke directly, without sugar-coating Your words. You pointed out sin. And You spoke the truth. Everything You have said is truth. 

The part that bothered me in the verse above was the love of many will grow cold. I wondered if that applied to believers as well as unbelievers. I can see unbelievers growing angrier with enemies or governments or people who some would call idiots. We can so easily spout angry words.

Quickly, though, the thought came...what if this refers to believers? (It does not.) But, might it not be possible? If we do not maintain our focus on Him, couldn't this happen? It's why it's important to keep our minds planted in His Word. And then, aren't we also to love what God loves and hate what He hates? That's to be done with righteous judgment. How many of us truly have righteous ways of judging? Do I?? 

I spent the day with a friend this week and at lunch we talked about how we believe we are in some critical days. God is wanting to prepare His bride, His church, those who believe His return is imminent and possibly soon. He says He wants a bride without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5). He prunes us to remove unwanted, unnecessary faults or sins, that we might become spot and wrinkle-free, laundered, as it were, by His blood. If we reject the pruning, we basically reject Him. If we are not being pruned, well, maybe we aren't right with Him. 

So, this love thing has been cropping up a lot in my thoughts, along with criticism and judgment. They go hand in hand in hand! And yet, like I said before, Jesus spoke words that were difficult to hear. He spoke the truth in love. How did He do that? Was it His demeanor or a gentle voice? I can't help but think all a person had to do was look at Him to recognize a difference about Him. I think about if He were to enter my house how I would react. I think I could not stand but fall face down before Him.

This wasn't where I had planned to go with all this but it is linked...loving our enemies (and neighbors) and terrorism. Terrorism is defined as the use of violent acts to frighten people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal, or as a means of coercion. (Webster) There is no place in this world free from terror. We can be angry with the senseless loss of lives if that happens, but we must also realize that these people, our enemies, are as lost as we were at one time, without Christ. They need Him too.

The good thing about knowing Christ is we do not need to be fearful. We will be disgusted, but we will also be constantly reminded that what we see happening in this world is to be expected; it has been prophesied.  The Word has shown us what we need to know and understand. He has and will reveal what is true to those who want to know. He will reveal His promises to those who believe, trust and have faith in Him. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)...and faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

And we who endure in these beliefs till the end will be saved...from not only the terror in the world but saved from our own destructive sin. There is a greater terror coming. It's one that happens when we are not secure in our belief about Jesus. I hate to imagine what that would be like. It's why knowing Jesus is so important. It's why I continue these blogs. In case someone "hears." The Word says there will be scoffers (2Peter 3:3). I don't mind. I know where my hope and peace comes from. I do what Jesus calls us to do.

There is a very real presence of evil in this world. We are all born into it, live it and sometimes die in it. If we know Jesus Christ, we can be secure in Him. Evil will always be around. So will Jesus! He is always available to someone who wants to know Him and trust Him.

John 14:1,27 - Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

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