a wonderful day to love your enemies.
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 NASB
Not everything that God expects of us comes easily. Sometimes, as in the case of loving our enemies, the expectation is met with something less than enthusiasm. In fact, we often have a desire to do the exact opposite.
Jonah was that way. God wanted to use him to warn the people of Nineveh that their wickedness had not escaped God’s notice and appropriate punishment was headed their way if they did not change. Jonah so hated them that, instead of departing Jerusalem and heading east toward Nineveh, he boarded a ship that was headed to the west. “But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord.” (Jonah 1:3a NLT).
This did not please God, of course, and He set upon the ship a deadly storm that threatened the lives of all on board. Jonah was discovered to be the cause of the storm and was thrown overboard. While the seas became calm once again for those on the ship, Jonah’s troubles were not over. God had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah, whereupon Jonah had three days and three nights to reflect upon his insistence to disobey God’s wishes. When the fish spit him out onto the beach, Jonah decided the best thing to do would be to go to Nineveh and warn them as God had wanted.
After Jonah warned the city, the inhabitants changed their ways and God decided not to destroy them. This angered Jonah. He could not understand why God would want to save 120,000 souls. He could not take joy in his part in saving them, so convinced he was of his own righteousness and their deserving of destruction for their evil ways.
God will punish but He is first and foremost a merciful God and He expects us to be merciful as well. It is easy to love those who return our love. It is much more difficult to be generous with our compassion and our kindness with those who have wronged us or who exhibit hate toward others.
The instructions of Jesus leave no room for equivocation or misinterpretation. “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36 NLT). Jesus asks of us nothing more than to follow His example.
The right thing for us to do is not always the easiest, but if it is God’s wish, it should be ours.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson