Photo cred: Bloor Landsdowne Christian Fellowship
Old Me: “Shut up, Matthew!”
New Me: “Okay, I get it, but this is NOT gonna be easy! Just sayin’…”
I’m in the Bible every day. I know that the greatest second commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Matthew 22:38
Ugh. I keep reminding myself that I’m only human. That when someone is against me, slighting me, undermining me, the “old me” rears its ugly head and the venomous feelings of revenge surface, and I know exactly who’s behind it. The enemy. I momentarily entertain the “old feelings”… of who and what I used to be and when I reflect back on the times I would’ve gladly engaged in a WWE smackdown, taking pleasure in “giving someone what they had coming”, I’m so ashamed. Embarrassed, too.
That was me… really? Yes, it was, right up until I turned my heart and life over to Jesus. Not gonna lie… this is the one that I struggle with the most. REALLY struggle with. Not that I was, by any stretch, a bad person, but if someone intentionally hurt me, I was all over them like “white on rice”. There was NO way I was going to “let someone hurt me, and get away with it.” Since becoming a Christian, I feel as though I’ve been “turning the other cheek” so often that I’ve got whiplash. True story.
I’ve always considered myself to be humble, kind and thoughtful…UNTIL someone came at me. Then it was “game on”. The humble, kind and thoughtful me went out the window and was replaced with the “Terminator”. Yuck. It pains me to even acknowledge it and write it “out loud”.
Each day I pray for God’s mercy, wisdom, grace and favor. I ask Him for His strength and guidance in my Christian Walk. I pray for those who are suffering, who are less fortunate, for those who don’t know Jesus and “yes”, I pray for my enemies. By the time I “get to them” in my prayers, it’s more like a “footnote”; a perfunctory recognition of their existence. Oopsies!
I realize now that when I pray for my enemies I need to do so in a truly loving and forgiving way. Praying for those against me initially was contrary to everything I felt and believed… it’s not easy… not in the least, but it’s what I NEED to do… it’s the RIGHT thing to do. I recently shared the following post on FB by Pastor Joel Osteen:
- Bless Your Enemies… Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28 “Bless those that curse you, do good to those that hurt you, pray for those that mistreat you.” One test we all have to pass is being good to people that have not been good to us. It won’t make sense in your mind, everything in you will will say, “Hold a grudge, talk bad about them, look for ways to get even.” Your job is not to pay people back. Your job is to bless your enemies.
Challenge accepted, Pastor Osteen.
To my enemies, ga’head “bring it”. I’ll be waiting for you, with a heart full of forgiveness and prayers for your well-being. Because at the end of the day, I’m living my life as Jesus did, to the very best of my ability, and, quite frankly, the simple reminder to myself is, “What would Jesus do?” He’d bless them, forgive them and love them. He’s so awesome. I thank Him every day for blessing me, forgiving me and loving me. I’m a sinner; not unlike my enemies. If He can forgive me, I can certainly forgive them.
~Matthew 5:44 – “But 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.”
Okay, Matthew… message received loud and clear and I’m sorry that the “old me” told you to “shut up”. The “new me” will keep reminding myself of this message every day, until I no longer have to “think” about it; that praying for and loving my enemies will come as second nature to me and I’ll do it willingly, gladly and with nothing in my heart but love. Consider me a “work in progress.”
~Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP