Sunday, July 25, 2010
Love The Ones You Choose?
Matthew 5:46-49 (NLT) 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,a]">[a] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Can we choose who we love? Your spouse- yes, your friends- yes, your family- yes... but what about those that are hard to love? What about those who have hurt your feelings, said things you didn't like to hear, made you mad, done you wrong, did things you didn't like~ what about THOSE people? Do we really need to love them? Not just superficially but with true and pure hearts? YES.
Luke 6:35 (NLT) 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
If you are having a hard time with loving people the first step is asking for forgiveness. First because whatever the problem is, it disrupts your relationship with Jesus and second of all because it's a commandment to forgive, whether we feel like it or not. (Here is an old quote I heard this week: "Saying you forgive someone and then choosing not to forget is like burying the ax and leaving the handle sticking out.) He doesn't tell us to love people to be mean to us, but because when we don't, it separates us from God and gives Christianity a disservice.
Luke 6:36 (NLT) 37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Matthew 5:22-24 (NLT) 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brothera]">[a]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,b]">[b]' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
What if you have forgiven in your heart and you go to someone and they in turn don't return the same feelings/thoughts? The bible then tells us there are steps we need to take to assure communication and rectification. (This is another matter which I would like to blog about later, but I'll add the scripture here for reference~ Matthew 18:15-18 15"If your brother sins against you,b]">[b] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'c]">[c] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.18"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will bed]">[d]bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will bee]">[e] loosed in heaven.
When all is forgiven, we find it easy to love. It flows genuinely from our hearts, mouths, eyes and actions.
Like the rich young ruler, don't just turn from this and go away with nothing. You CAN make a difference. Be the one to love first, forgive first.. Take that step, let go of pride and the "yes but Lord" attitude. Just do what you need to do. Make the world a better place.. We can do it, one person at a time.