Monday, May 15, 2006

Love your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-48 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [47] And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? [48] You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I grew up in the 60's and 70's. These tumultuous years were marked by the cold war with the former Soviet Union. In grade school we used to have drills in preparation for a nuclear attack by the Soviets. I hated the Soviets because I believed they wanted to destroy our country. This hatred and animosity intensified when I joined the Air Force. All Air Force personnel were shown films about our enemy’s intentions and efforts to destroy our way of life. I took that threat very personally and seriously. I viewed the Soviet Union as an evil empire and a godless people.

This past week I did something that I never thought possible. I spent a week in a Russia and I worshipped God there. I worshipped God in the land of my former enemies and the hatred in my heart has been transformed to love. What an amazing glorious God we serve! He changes the hearts of people and makes former enemies brothers and sisters in Christ.

Dear people of God love your enemies and overcome evil with good. When we respond this way we are imitating our Heavenly Father. "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

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