It appears the Holy Spirit has given me seven different poetic sermons to illuminate the scripture found in Matthew Chapter 5. The first was called “8 Blessings” and it was based on a sermon that Jesus gave on a Mount that spoke about the blessings of God. The second was called “Salt” and it was about Christians adding flavor to a lukewarm world. The third was called, “Awake O Sleeper” and it was based on the importance of shining God's light into a dark and dreary world. The fourth was called “Its the Law” and it highlights why Jesus came! He said, "Do not misunderstand why I have come. I have not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the Prophets. I have come to fulfill them." The fifth was called “Anger” and it spoke to how quickly anger can turn to danger and create murder, before we even know it! And the sixth was about the marriage vow, and it spoke to the importance of an oath - to a potential spouse and, more importantly, to God himself.
Now, here I am, at the end of Chapter 5; and Jesus is teaching about the problem with revenge, and why, as His disciples, we MUST show love to our enemies.
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say do not resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also; if you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat too; if a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it 2 miles; give to those who ask and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.”
Truly, loving our enemies is the opposite of what our flesh really wants to do. It takes every once of self-control to push our pride down and not want to take things into our own hands. We will often come up with excuses like "righteous anger" to justify our positions. But Jesus. He says, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Do you not see why Jesus had to come?
Can you imagine forgiving a Nazi, who has killed thousands and thousands of men, women and children?
Can you imagine forgiving a rapist who has stolen the very essence of a person's being?
Can you imagine loving a person who sells little children?
Or extending grace to someone who has beaten his wife, or another person?
Can you imagine forgiving an Islamist who hates your God?
Can you imagine any of these people being considered a friend?
What exactly is Jesus trying to say?
Is he honestly telling us to love and to forgive?
Do we really have to pray for those who persecute us?
God, is this how we prove that we are your children?
Help us to learn how to love and forgive.