Matthew 5 begins with the beatitudes, introducing us to God’s perspective, which is often the opposite of the way we think and act as human beings. Jesus then challenges his followers in several areas:
- Be salt and light, drawing others to Jesus by your positive example (vs. 13-16)
- Fulfil the law instead of abolishing it (vs. 17-20)
- Resolve conflicts without the all too common “solutions” of murder or going to court (vs. 21-26)
- Do what is necessary to discipline your mind and body (vs. 27-30)
- Avoid divorce (vs. 31-32)
- Say what you mean and do what you say (vs. 33-37)
- Serve others instead of getting revenge (vs. 38-42)
And at the end of the chapter, Jesus sums it all up by telling his followers to love their enemies.
Instead of retaliating, Jesus told his disciples to pray for those who persecute them. Jesus said if we are kind and loving to those who are kind and loving to us, we have done nothing noteworthy. To make his point, Jesus pointed out that even the tax collectors, who were deceitful and looked upon as despicable, loved people who loved them.
As Christians, we have a new standard to follow—we are to be perfect, even as God is perfect.
Helps Word Studies says we are to be, “... mature from going through the necessary stages to reach the end goal.”
Every day we make hundreds of choices. As we grow in our walk with God, more of those choices should reflect the character of our Heavenly Father. (Remember the examples in Matthew 5?) However, it doesn’t take long for most of us to figure out we CANNOT be perfect, at least without God’s help.
Isn’t it ironic that God gives us the impossible task of being perfect so we will rely on him alone to do the work he has given us to do? When we live this way, others will see a difference in our lives and God’s love flowing through us will draw them to God. We will rely on God alone and giving him the glory because it will be obvious that God accomplished the impossible through us.
So, how about it? Will you join me in paying it forward, especially to those who are difficult to love, for the glory of God?
Wonderful message, Ruth. It reminds me too, to find ways to pay it forward in my work environment instead of just my family and friends.ReplyDelete
Thanks for letting me know how you're applying these thoughts, Lynn. Blessings in your work and writing.Delete
A timely reminder to love not just our special Valentines, but the difficult people too. We're never more like Christ than when we love the challenging people in our lives. Happy Valentine's Day, dear Ruth.ReplyDelete
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
Happy Valentine's Day to you too, dear Wendy! Yes, loving challenging people is something we can only do with God's help.Delete
What a good way to honour St. Valentine's Day, Ruth. Thanks.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Sharon! Happy Valentine's Day.ReplyDelete
I am in the midst of a difficult situation to love a very difficult person. I have to say that I've been in this position many times before and that it never gets easier and that there are no simple answers. Loving is always the right thing to do but in each situation we sure need to find out what that exactly means. So this is where I am at. Trying to let go of frustration and check my heart for how God really wants me to interact with this person. I also had to opportunity to reconnect with a friend yesterday who just recently lost her husband. It was scarey to reach out as I didn't know if she would want to hear from me but she responded and did reconnect and hopefully will more in the future. So yes, everyday we make hundreds of choices (although so many we are unaware of) and sometimes those choices can lead to some very unexpected but great places with others. <3 Valentines Day was the perfect day for me to have one of those moments. Thanks for this Ruth. It was very encouraging.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing so honestly. You're right. It isn't easy. There are no simple answers. Sometimes love looks different. Praying that God will help you let go of the frustration and that you will be able to interact in a healthy, loving way.
Good for you for reaching out to your widow friend. I'm glad you are feeling encouraged and making positive choices.
Virtual hugs to you, Gloria!
A timely reminder to pay it forward by choosing to walk in love. Thanks, Ruth!ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Brenda :)Delete