“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either… “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them…Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
This slapped me in the face this morning. I was greatly troubled in the night by something which occurred in the past. A hurtful, unresolved conflict about which I have done all I know to do and have been permitted to do. Do you have something like this in your life?
I find rest in this…not that the situation is all set to rights (for that may never happen, however much I pray)…but that I have done my best to love. I have shown mercy as much as is humanly possible. Turned the cheek, been stricken on that side as well…and by God’s grace, not retaliated in my flesh. This is so clearly an act of God’s grace in my life. I like closure, I like things to be “done”, I like check lists…and to be okay, to find joy even for a day, in the midst of this open-ended situation…it’s Him.
So, when the accuser of the brethren rears his ugly head, and tries to make me question…I must rest. I must still love. If allowed, I need to choose mercy. My hands must be open to give all, because that is what He did for me.
There may well come a day when people despise me, and even seek to take my physical life from me, simply for being a Christian…having nothing to do with anything I’ve done. I need to teach my heart now to enter into this aspect of “the fellowship of His sufferings” with courage and devotion. We all do.
For more on forgiveness, go here.