Matthew 5:43-48 – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Where were you on September 11, 2001? I was pregnant with my first child (due in December) and was at a Bible class. One of the older men came into the sanctuary and said, “A plane has hit one of the Twin Towers in New York.” We all thought that this was it – the poor old guy had finally fallen off his rocker. But he hadn’t. The story was true. And as we all hovered around our televisions for the rest of the day and watched in horror as our country was attacked, we wondered what we should do next.
Many people went to church. Some for the first time in years. It was their temporary wake up call. I say temporary because after the dust settled (so to speak), they made the choice to go back to living their lives without Him. They used Jesus as a crisis manager. Now, don’t get me wrong – He is a crisis manager but He is also a life manager. But that’s another blog post….
What I really wanted to think about today was the persons who made the choice, and are making the choice, to persecute our country and our faith. Every day, unbeknownst to the average Joe, law enforcement officers are taking down attempts to destroy our way of life. They protect us. They preserve our way of life. And then we have those fighting in diverse locations to keep the “bad guys” off our soil in the first place. God bless them all. I appreciate their sacrifice of their life, their families and their personal freedoms to keep me safe.
Yet, we still have those who slip through, those who desire in their hearts to harm others. What are we supposed to do? We can’t stayed holed up in our houses all day long. We still have to live.
We pray. We open that beautiful line of communication with the One who is able to immeasurably more than we can imagine. We are not called to hate. Jesus did not hate. Therefore, we must not hate. And it is hard to not hate those who are mean to you and persecute you. You see, it’s easy to love nice people. It is a much greater challenge to love someone who doesn’t love you back. And that’s exactly what we have been called to do.
So today, as we remember the terrible persecution and lose of lives that occurred on this date 14 years ago, pray for the ones that are continuing to attempt to find ways to harm us. Pray that God will open their eyes to the truth of His word. Pray that He will give you the grace and the mercy that you need to deal with those who are not nice to you.
And live dear friends, in honor of those who have died, live.