Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren


Monday, April 4, 2011

Quiet-Time Reflections

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                                                                          pmcrawford1@gmail.com
Week of: April 4, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford 

Luke 6:27-30
“But if you are willing to listen, I say love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do for others as you would like them to do you. (NIV)

Through The Eyes Of Love:
Can you imagine being new to Bible reading and you come upon this verse? Love your enemies, do good for them, pray for their happiness, and turn the other cheek when they hurt you, OMG! How is this possible? Could this be one of the reasons why people run away from Jesus? What a command! Please notice this is a command from Jesus, it’s not something man thought up.

If you have been a Christian for any length of time; then you understand this “loving your enemies” thing is only possible when you are fully submitted to the Word of God. Because love is an action, this indicates that we have a choice in how we will respond to hurt. I will tell you right out of the gate that I have to work overtime to respond to hurt and disappointment God’s way. Before I was “willing to listen,” I did not usually respond like someone who understood Scripture. The truth is it is not natural for human beings to overlook the imperfections, faults, or sins of others. We have to work at it. Thankfully, Jesus left His Spirit to help us accomplish the task (John 14:26). If we are willing to let Him teach us, we will have everything we need to obey God’s Word and love those who have hurt us even when we don’t feel like it. 

Because I realize that some of you are deep within a hurt, I want to be sensitive to your emotions. I get it, I’m right there too. However, what I have learned is that we cannot pick and choose what we’ll obey from Scripture. If we claim Christ then we also need to embrace that “all Scripture is God-breathed…”(2 Timothy 3:16-17). We are called to obey all the commands of God not just the ones that fit into our own agenda. One of the biggest obstacles to “loving our enemies” is learning how to forgive them. 

It is so hard to think of family members, a parent, a spouse, sibling, a friend, co-worker or a member of your church family as an enemy. Unfortunately, when a relationship is severed because of hurt or offense, this is exactly what we become to one another.  It is our basic instinct to put up walls when we’re hurt. What generally happens overtime is that we no longer treat each other with love or kindness, we no longer talk well of one another and we do everything possible to avoid the other person. This behavior does not align to God’s Word; so what do we do about it?

In Romans chapter 12, Paul gives us ample instructions for what God expects of a believer. I encourage you to read the entire section on love, verses 12:9-21. Pay particular attention to verse 18  “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” There is a clear indication by Paul that this is not always possible. So what can we do when we find ourselves in this situation? How can we love those that we are in conflict with?  The following are a few helpful suggestions that I have been given.

·     Ask yourself – am I doing what I can do to help the situation or am I adding to the conflict? Get quiet before God and ask Him to search you and reveal anything that needs to be changed within you.

·    Promoting peace in a relationship might mean backing off for a time being. Always be gracious when confrontation can’t be avoided, but don’t try forcing the issue. We are to speak truth in love and then leave the rest to God.

·     Initial attempts should be made, but prayerful evaluation as you pursue the process is important because not all relationships will become healthy.

·     Give God time to work. In the meantime pray without ceasing.

·     Choose to respond in love, even when it feels impossible.

·      Decide to please God above self.

Life’s Application Commentary:
Paul’s command sounds almost impossible. When someone hurts you deeply, instead of giving him what he deserves, Paul says to befriend him. Why does Paul tell us to forgive our enemies? (1) Forgiveness may break a cycle of retaliation and lead to mutual reconciliation. (2) It may make the enemy feel ashamed and change his or her ways. (3) By contrast, replaying evil for evil hurts you just as much as it hurts your enemy. Even if your enemy never repents, forgiving him or her will free you of a heavy load of bitterness.

Jesus wasn’t talking about having affection for enemies; he was talking about an act of the will. You can’t “fall into” this kind of love – it takes conscious effort. Loving our enemies means acting in their best interests. We can pray for them, and we can think of ways to help them. Jesus loved the whole world, even though the world was in rebellion against God. Jesus asks us to follow his example by loving our enemies. Grant your enemies the same respect and rights as you desire for yourself.

Today’s prayer:
Lord it is a simple prayer today. Help us to hear your message within these words. If there is someone that we need to love better, bring him or her to our mind. Empower us to obey what you reveal. Teach us to love our enemies just as you have loved us. In Your Son’s Name we pray.  Amen.

Additional Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:14-16

Book Suggestion: Who’s Pushing Your Buttons? Handling the Difficult People in Your Life by Dr. John Townsend.

In Christ by grace,
Pam




  











































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Quiet-Time Reflections said...

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