Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Responding To Hate

Belgium has been attacked today, as France was attacked, as Russia was attacked, as many countries have been attacked in the past. It is a good illustration of how Jesus has transformed us to live by a different code than this world, to have different values and to live by a different perspective. It is vital that, as his followers, we die to the desires of our first nature and live in the Spirit, with our new nature.

Jesus called us to be something different, a new people, a new nation, to live in a new way so that the world would look in and Father would receive the glory for what they see. It is more than a love that we put on; it is a love that permeates everything that makes us unique. Let me remind you how it is suppose to look, as Jesus taught it. Remember, this cannot be achieved by our effort but instead in cooperation with the Holy Spirit:

 “But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you." (Luke 6:27-31)

Unfortunately too many of us call on the name Jesus without submitting to Jesus. We think it is okay to sing his praises and curse people. We think it is okay to react to the world in our flesh while fellowshipping with God in our spirit. We think this and use the excuse that we are human. But we aren't human. We are a new creation and we have been empowered to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to live differently than the rest of creation so Father will receive glory. Stop making excuses, we are going to be held accountable. Don't hate those who want to see you dead, and don't fear them; pray for them.

“If you love those who love you, why should you be commended? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, why should you be commended? Even sinners do that. If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, why should you be commended? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be paid back in full. Instead, love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. If you do, you will have a great reward. You will be acting the way children of the Most High act, for he is kind to ungrateful and wicked people. Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate." (Luke 6:32-36)

There is no creature on this planet that should compare to the forgiving and generous character of a follower of Jesus. We are possessed by his Spirit and thus live by his character. When we fail we are corrected but we are never permitted to excuse the failure. When we fail we should understand that we have weakness in our relationship with Jesus. When we are intimate with him we are strong in his character, sensitive to the Holy Spirit's guidance.

“Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you. A good portion—packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing—will fall into your lap. The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return.” (Luke 6:37-38)

Why do we fail to know this is how we live, react, respond? When we fail why do we think it is okay? Why do we not understand the need to reject our error, to confess and repent of it, to ask Jesus for greater intimacy to live in the manner that pleases him? If Jesus is our Master we can't just ignore his words, they were given to enable life in us. 

We are different than all the rest because we have the character of Jesus. Hate is never justified. If Jesus could ask forgiveness for those who crucified him certainly we can ask for and give forgiveness to those who do harm to us. Our calling is a higher calling of sacrificial love. So let us love those who see themselves as our enemies, those who persecute us, those who want to do harm to us; just like Jesus.

1 comment:

Jess said...

Very convicting. I have been tempted to use the "I'm only human" excuse many times in my walk with Christ.