Love Your Enemies

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

~ Matthew 5:43-48

Last night several of us gathered at the church for a time of prayer.  It was refreshing, emotional, and releasing to give to the Lord our burdens.  Many struggle with anxiety and often times it centers around what others think or perceive of us.  We may struggle with the idea that the world around us would hate, revile, or persecute us, especially because of our faith in Christ.  Evangelical and theologically conservative Christianity holds to a biblical worldview that has been held for thousands of years, yet that worldview seems to be under attack by being labeled as bigoted, unrealistic, and a plethora of “-phobics.” 

There is not doubt that a biblical worldview is under attack.  It’s enemies, those who hold to a post-post modern viewpoint tout freedom, yet only those who conform to their opinions actually have the freedom they espouse.

So what do we do?  Is it time to fight back?  Should we picket, yell, scream our ideologies in the face of our accusers?  Should we rant on social media and use our keyboard-warrioring techniques to convince everyone around us that we are right?

No.

This is a time when the world needs the church, now more than ever, to model the words of Christ.  We must LOVE our enemies.  When those who disagree with us scream violent curses and nasty accusations, we must show them kindness and compassion.  When they wish physical violence upon us, we must pray for their well-being and salvation.  When they push us to our limits, we must practice patience and long-suffering, showing them the love of Christ in every action, decision, and word.

We aren’t meant to convince anyone.  That’s the job of the Holy Spirit.  We must allow Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit to change the hearts of men.  Our job is simply to love them.  Let’s stop now and pray for those who might disagree with us, that the Gospel would be received by faith, that salvation would spring up to those who don’t know Christ, and that though we be persecuted, we will be obedient to Christ in love.

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Pastor Chris Ridler

Pastor Chris is married to his beautiful wife Becky and has a precious son named Noah. Chris received his Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University and is currently working on his Master’s of Divinity at Reformed Theological Seminary. Chris has served in full time ministry for over 13 years – as either a Youth Pastor, Worship Pastor or House Parent and is passionate about seeing people grow in their walk with Christ and disciple others for the glory of God’s kingdom.

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