LOVING YOUR ENEMIES, 06.05.19
LOVING YOUR ENEMIES, 06.05.19
MILK, OR SOLID FOOD? 24.04.19, by Verna Crowther, https://www.vernasstudycorner.ca/2019/04/milk-or-solid-food-24-04-19/
Anita Fuentes, “How To Love Your Enemies,” published on youtube May 1, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC1nQFIGQYQ&feature=youtu.be
It’s no big challenge to show love to others who love you, who are loving, respectful, caring, etc. The challenge arises when the unloving come before us and we need to respond in some way; when enemies rise up against, and/or provoke us, and we are ready to respond in like manner.
How are we supposed to respond? What do the Scriptures tell us to do?
Yeshua gives a clear teaching on this: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so 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. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than anyone else? Even the pagans do that, don’t they? 48 Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matt.5:44-48).
Not only does He command us to love our enemies, but He specifically identifies: (1) how to do that – i.e., love them by praying for them, even if they are persecuting you; (2) this expectation is really a command, because it is a prerequisite requirement/qualifying factor for being considered a child of His (v.45); (3) Since He causes good/blessings even for those who don’t know Him, honour Him, or belong to Him, we must surely do likewise (v.45); (4) even unbelievers love those who love them, so only loving those who love us does not put us in any special status; it is when we can rise above/beyond that that we bring ourselves into special favour (v.46,47); (5) we are to emulate His model, after all, “God chooses to love unlovable mankind,” (Anita Fuentes). We are to walk in perfect surrender, following a pathway which will bring us into a position of blamelessness, righteousness, holiness, as He sanctifies and perfects us to become as He is, even though this process will not be completed during our earthly lifetime (v.48).
“You are not to hate your brother in your heart. Instead, you are to firmly rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You are not to take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am Adonai” (Lev.19:17,18). During the Old Covenant times, the message was parallel. We who are followers of Yahweh/Yeshua have always been called to a higher standard: to not hate, to refrain from vengeance, to forgive/not hold grudges, and love our neighbours as ourselves. “Vengeance is Mine, and payback” (Deut.32:35). Vengeance is not within our jurisdiction, but the Father’s.
Nothing changed from Old Covenant to New, regarding Yahweh’s basic commandments. “Repay no one evil for evil . . . . live in shalom with all people. Never take your own revenge . . . give room for God’s wrath—for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says Adonai” (Rom.12:17-19). So specific are His instructions, He even says: “Rather, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing so you will heap coals of fire upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom.12:20,21). Of course it is also necessary to come to a place of maturity whereby we are ready for solid food (MILK, OR SOLID FOOD? 24.04.19, by Vern Crowther, https://www.vernasstudycorner.ca/2019/04/milk-or-solid-food-24-04-19/) and no longer needing to be bottle-fed, or spoon-fed, “For anyone living on milk is inexperienced with the teaching about righteousness—he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil” (Heb.5:12-14). And, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head” (Eph.4:15). When we need to stand up for ourselves (which surely we do), we can be assertive; we can speak/take charge, without being offensive or hurtful. Yeshua said: “in all things, do to others what you would want them to do to you—for this is the Torah and the Prophets” (Matt.7:12).
Not only are we not to give into the temptation to “get even” but we are to “overcome evil with good,” being so kind to them (our enemy), even taking care of them, if needed (we see Israel doing this so much today, when they bring the very ones who were trying to kill them into their hospitals and care for their wounds), that our acts of kindness will “heap coals of fire upon their heads.” This is God’s way, and we are called to walk in it. Do as Yeshua did/does, and we will become more and more like Him.
It is a challenging call, a difficult walk, but it is those who walk that narrow path who will receive the rewards. As Paul says: “I press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me . . . . I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. . . . let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you. Nevertheless, let us live up to the same standard we have attained” (Phil.3:12-16).
© 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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