Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Love My Enemies? Not Likely!

OK Christian. Admit it. Someone close to you ‘done you wrong’!
You are having a hard time forgiving them.
If you still have to be around them, they are probably continually treating you like a pile of garbage.
You are probably thinking, ‘OK Barbara, give me ONE (just one) good reason that I should forgive the creep!

You are probably thinking that you already know the Bible verses regarding forgiveness. I listed many of the verses at the end of this blog post. You need to read them just as a reminder.

Unfortunately, the verses on forgiveness are easy to read, but they are much harder to actually do.
It becomes easier to at least begin with forgiveness when you figure out:
‘what’s in it for me?’
‘What am I going to get out of this?
That rat-fink done me wrong.
They walked away scot free.
And, I am left dealing with the mess they made.
I was the one who was hurt.
I was the one was innocent.

Or, possibly even worse, I’m the one who has to deal with the selfish pig on a daily basis.
They are continuing in their self centered world without even considering what they are doing to me and everyone else they touch.

Or, maybe you are trying to forgive someone who is hurting, or has hurt, someone you love. That may be even harder than forgiving someone who has hurt you personally.

Thankfully, I can give you good reasons to forgive.

First, forgive in obedience to God.
Trust Him.
God asks us to forgive otheres for our very own benefit.
There is something in it for you.

It is to our benefit to forgive others.
Anger and hurt, no matter how justified, are stumbling blocks between the Christian and his or her Lord.
THAT is the true motivation to forgive.

It comes down to this:
‘Do I love my hurt and anger MORE than I love the God of my salvation?’
‘Would I rather hang onto my hurt feelings than gain a closer walk with God?”

Sadly, many people will decide to hang onto their hurt and anger.

There is another good reason to forgive.
If you fail to forgive, you WILL become bitter and angry.
That root of bitterness will spring up in surprising places.
Bitterness cannot be contained or pointed at just one person.
It seeps out all around you.
It slowly poisons all your relationships.
You wind up being the one who hurts the people you love.
You become the person you despised.

Forgiveness, as already mentioned, is something that can be pretty nearly impossible to pull off. You think you have forgiven someone.
Then something reminds you of them, and you are hurt and angry all over again.
I think that is one reason Jesus said to forgive 70 X 7.
You may not be forgiving a different hurt every time. You may just be re-forgiving the same hurt, or the same type of hurt.
The reason to keep forgiving is of course obedience to Christ, but also to find the blessings that come from forgiveness.
I don't think this means you must continue to live with or put up with vicious and hurtful behavior. Regardless of whether you decide to live with something or remove yourself from the situation as much as possible, you MUST forgive.

Forgiveness seems to be a state of mind that you must work at continually. It becomes easier over time, but you still have to keep working at it.
That is done through prayer.
Truly, ‘pray for those that despitefully use you’ is written for YOUR benefit. (Matthew 5:44)

To be an effective Christian, nothing is more important than your personal walk with Jesus Christ.
You must pray for your enemies.
Don’t let hurt and bitterness ruin your future.
Forgive others and walk into a better future.

Ephesians 4:32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.Ephesians 4:31-32 (in Context) Ephesians 4 (Whole Chapter)

Matthew 5:44But 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;Matthew 5:43-45 (in Context) Matthew 5 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 6:27But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,Luke 6:26-28 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 6:35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.Luke 6:34-36 (in Context) Luke 6 (Whole Chapter)

John 13:34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.John 13:33-35 (in Context) John 13 (Whole Chapter)
John 15:12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.John 15:11-13 (in Context) John 15 (Whole Chapter)
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