“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Have you ever smelled the goodness of a blooming flower, but given someone the cold shoulder? Have you ever found warmth by a fire, but felt hate in your heart towards someone? Have you ever sang praises at the top of your lungs, but cursed a brother or sister?
I was doing a devotional the other day that shared the scripture John 18:18;
“Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself”
This is during the time when Peter was denying Jesus not once, but three times. Peter continuously denied his relationship with Jesus, but then fully embraced the warmth of a fire. A fire that could only be created because our Heavenly Father gave us the ability to do so.
I think we can all agree that we tend to find ourselves in Peter’s shoes. We accept the hospitality of our Lord and Savior but refuse to share that same love and grace with the world.
Today is a day I have been dreading. Today is a day when we are called to make room for our enemies. Today we are called to accept the hospitality of our Lord while inviting others to join us in that same hospitality.
As Matthew says, loving those who love us is easy. Anyone can do that, but loving those who do not always love us is the true way of a disciple. Today we are going to start small. I want to encourage you to think of a person who you have experienced a broken relationship within the past week, month, or year. How can you make room for them in your life? How can you honor God by the way you love them? This is easier said than done, but this is what we are called to do. We are called to make room at the table for those who persecute us. How will you do that today?
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
-Wesley Covenant Prayer
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.