Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48
43 "You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Meditation: What makes Christians different from others and what makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace — treating others, not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated — with loving-kindness and mercy. God is good to the unjust as well as the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. God seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate and abuse us. Our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit form doing so. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return. Our prayer for those who do us ill both breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love to do good in the face of evil. How
Was Jesus exaggerating when he said we must be perfect as our
heavenly Father is perfect? The original meaning of “perfect” in
Aramaic is “completeness” or “wholeness–not lacking in what is essential”.
God gives us every good gift in Jesus Christ so that we may not lack anything
we need to do his will and to live as his sons and daughters. He
knows our frailty and sinfulness better than we do. And he assures us of
his love, mercy, and grace to follow in his ways. Do you want to grow in
your love for
God and for your neighbor? Ask the Holy Spirit to change and transform you in the image of the Father that you may walk in the joy and freedom of the gospel.
“Lord, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your
Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make
me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter