Grace and peace,
Matthew 5:43-48 “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.”
I have heard many people say, “If we were all God’s children nothing bad would ever happen to us.” I have listened and stayed silent as others slander the Father and say, “Why do THEY get everything THEY want when THEY don’t even believe in Jesus as the Son? I pray and I go to church but I get nothing but pain.” What incredibly vain and selfish thoughts these are. I have meditated on these musings myself before and pondered on their validity. It is funny how we ask such questions and get so frustrated by the apparent success of whom many consider “undeserving” when the answers stare at us from the Word, waiting for us to dust off the book many discard and just read them. In the verses above, we are commanded to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors.
Why does God allow the wicked to prosper while the righteous suffer? First and foremost do not believe for a moment that any one of us is anymore righteous than any other. It is through the blood of the Christ, the Messiah that we are made righteous in the eyes of the Father. Beyond that, read those verses again for your answer to this question. We are asked by Jesus what we gain from only loving those who love us. Everyone loves those who love them! That is the easy part. He calls us to more in His name. To love those who hate us, who curse us, who frighten and oppress us, all those who slander and antagonize us on the street. When a driver swears at you and gives you the finger, when a bully punches a kid for no reason, or when a parent abandons their child, love and pray for them. No it is not easy. God sends rain on all of us, because it is what He expects from us. If He only lifted up those who love Him, He would be a poor example indeed and quite hypocritical, would He not? “Do unto others”, every command and counsel we are presented with in the Truth is exemplified in the person of Jesus who is the embodiment of God. Every act of kindness and every word spoken by Jesus is an example of a holiness we are called to in His name.
We are not God (shocking I know, hit me pretty hard too when I found out) so we do not meet the expectation. Our human emotions and the sin we writhe in and enjoy are blocks shackled round our ankles while we climb towards the King. But while we keep looking up for forgiveness, we seem to forget if we look around, others are in the same battle we are every single day. If we open our eyes to the conflicts within others, we may see the reflection of ourselves there. Not as in a mirror, but as in a pond where we notice the similarities as a vague semblance of what we struggle to overcome. Extend your hand to your brothers and walk together. Our burdens are lighter when we stand as one. Maybe that guy or girl is not just some jerk. Maybe they are in a divorce or just lost a loved one, maybe they are lost in drugs or alcohol or lust or maybe they think they are perfect because they do not do any of that. Pride can be the greatest struggle of all because it is usually disguised so the proud do not even recognize it.
As I look at you, I finally see what I have missed so long while asking questions to which the answers are clear, Jesus waiting, not at the top of the hill as we expect to find when gazing upward but here, among us, pierced hands open waiting for us to let Him carry our burden because He already paid our price. Let the master break your shackles and do not re-chain yourself to the same sinful deadweight we have before. Go to your brothers and show them who can free them as well, so when we all unite on our pilgrimage to the summit, where glory reigns and Light originates, we do so with backs straight and heads bowed not in grief and shame, but in reverence to the King of Kings who brought us forth and showed us how exactly to love and why He grants those who despise Him blessings in their arrogance. Because He does love us. All of us whether we know of Him or not, whether we despise or embrace His teaching, whether we follow or lead, murder or heal, restore or steal are loved and cherished. He wants us all. But to know the Father, we must love the Son and follow His ways. In this life, every decision affects our future. Yet there is but one decision that affects us at the end of our days here. It is never too late to turn from our old selves and encourage those we have wronged, to seek forgiveness from the Father and run in a new, better direction. Life does not always look so bright, but with the Lord there is peace in the storms and a place to hide during the earthquakes.
Do not simply take my word for it, when you read any verses I post, go to your own Bible and read the context they are in as well. “Text without context is a pretext for a proof text”
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in the spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans 12:9-11
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By THIS all people will know you are my disciples, IF YOU HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.” John 13″34, 35
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1,2
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8