marți, martie 04, 2008

What Jesus Did! - Finding our Target

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those people that do bad things to you. If you do this, then you will be true sons of your Father in heaven. Your Father lets the sun rise for the good people and the bad people. Your Father sends rain to people that do good and to people that do wrong.
- Matthew 5:43-45 (ERV)


This is a powerful conclusion to the things Jesus has been teaching us. In the Kingdom Family of God, the "greater righteousness" has as its visible sign a radically different, redemptively loving commitment for those around us. As Jesus reminded us in the Beatitudes, and again challenges us here, our goal is to love our neighbor. When our desire is to act redemptively, our neighbor becomes anyone who needs the love of the Father. The Father -- God himself -- is to be our inspiration, goal, and target in this pursuit. Because God is our Father, his traits should be our traits. He loved the world and sent his Son knowing that many would reject him. Yet that love is transformational: transformational for our world, our friendships, our families, and our attitude toward our enemies.


Almighty, yet compassionate Father, give me greater patience and confidence as I try to love those who are not very lovable and try to return grace to those who have enmity for me. When I do these things, I know that I am only allowing your character to come through in my life. In my quest to be like you, I do not desire your power, O Lord, for you alone are God. But I do earnestly want to take on your holy and gracious character. Work your will in my heart through your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scriptures:

Say only good things to those people that do bad things to you. Say good things to them and don't curse them. - Romans 12:14

But you are chosen people. You are the King's priests. You are a holy nation of people. You are people who belong to God. God chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He called (brought) you out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light. At one time you were not God's people. But now you are God's people. In the past you had never received mercy. But now you have received mercy {from God}. Dear friends, you are like visitors and strangers {in this world}.
So I beg you to stay away from the evil things your bodies want to do. These things fight against your soul. People who don't believe are living all around you. Those people may say that you are doing wrong. So live good lives. Then they will see the good things you do, and they will give glory to God on that day when he comes. - 1 Peter 2:9-12

We work hard with our own hands {to feed ourselves}. People curse us, but we speak a blessing for them. People persecute us, and we accept it. People say bad things about us, but we say good things to them. At this time people still treat us like we are the world's garbage--the trash of the earth. - 1 Corinthians 4:12-13

What Jesus Did! - Benevolent Compassion

If a person asks you for something, then give it to him. Don't refuse to give to a person that wants to borrow from you. - Matthew 5:42 (ERV)


In the last several statements, Jesus challenges us to a way of life that does not reflect conventional thinking. These radical challenges should not be read legalistically. At the same time, we must hear Jesus' imploring us to live by a Kingdom Family ethic toward others so that we can be powerful witnesses in a world so self-absorbed. While letting someone take financial advantage of us is not Jesus' intention (there certainly are other passages in the New Testament that help us understand this), he definitely wants us to be incredibly generous with others. We must refuse to put our personal possessions above the needs of others. God's Kingdom, and our citizenship in it, should be the primary force determining what we do to help, how we help, and how much we give up to help. But clearly, our lifestyle should be one of blessing and helping and giving, not judging and criticizing and hoarding.


Sacrificial Father, you gave so much for me so that I could be your child. Please help me see people through your eyes, with your truth and compassion. I want to be a source of blessing in what I say and do. Grow my generosity so others may see your grace in me and give you the glory. In the name of your most precious Gift I pray. Amen.

Related Scriptures:
This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters {in Christ}. Suppose a believer is rich enough to have all the things he needs. He sees his brother {in Christ} who is poor and does not have the things he needs.
What if the believer who has things does not help the poor brother? Then the believer who has the things he needs does not have God's love in his heart. My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No! Our love must be true love. We should show our love by the things we do. - 1 John 3:16-18
- Jas. 2:15-17