The past few days, the news has been filled with stories of pipe bombs being sent through the mail to certain individuals and organizations. But as disturbing as those stories are, what is even more disturbing is the way they have divided people. Hate talk has been rampant on both sides of every issue these days, and we have become more and more divided as a nation. As I read my devotions and Bible verses this morning, one passage of Scripture stood out to me. It’s from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 6, verses 27 and 28, and the words are the words of Jesus. Here is how that passage reads in the New Living Translation:
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”
If ever there was a time we needed to heed those words, it’s now! Jesus taught that we should love one another (John 13:34). We should love our neighbors, and we should love (and not hate) our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44). Those of us who are followers of Christ should be the first to set the example by following this. There is nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion. Even within the church, we have differences of opinion. But we should not allow those differences to result in bitterness towards others. We must not allow them to result in saying or doing hurtful things to others. We must not allow them to bring us to hate.
God is love. He loves us and, if we are followers of Christ, we must reflect the love that God shows us. In fact, we cannot truly be followers of Christ, we cannot say that we know God, if we have hate in our hearts toward others (1 John 4:7-8). The church needs to be an example to the world. We need to reflect the light of Jesus in a world that is growing ever darker. And so, we must love not only our neighbors, not only our families and friends, but also our enemies and those we dislike. Let’s set the example and shine His light in our world and in our nation (Matthew 5:16).
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.