Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adopting an Attitude of Love

In this lesson (Matthew 5:43-48), Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount by instructing the listeners to love their enemies. Jesus reminded them of a statement they/you may have heard
or the world's view of love, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." This statement was/is used as if "hate your enemy" was the correct and natural behavior that automatically follows "love your neighbor." Jesus' teachings on the topic of love tells us we are to love our enemies.

Who are our neighbors? In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus replied to an expert in the law, who asked "And, who is my neighbor?" by using the parable of the good Samaritan. Therefore, anyone you come in contact with that is in need would be your neighbor. In verse Matthew 5:44, Jesus said, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Romans 12:20 states, "But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink..." Love here denotes moral love, a reflection of compassionate actions for the good of another, not the expression of personal affection. Our lives should be in agreement with the scripture, a reflection of blessings, not returning insults for insults or evil for evil. Of course, the best example being Jesus Christ who while suffering uttered no threats, yet bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Jesus fulfilled His purpose. Believers have a purpose to fulfill.

As children of God, we need to show some resemblance of Him (Eph 5:1). God allows the sun to shine on the good and the evil; He sends the rain on the good and the bad. God's sons and daughters need to treat everyone as they would like to be treated. Love, help and pray for those who dislike you, for God has set those He called to be His children apart to live holy lives. Christians behavior should be an imitation of God. If we are only kind to those who love us, our
brothers and sisters in Christ, then we are not different from those who have
not responded to God's call.

In verse Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, "Be ye therefore perfect,.." He wants His children to display the kind of behavior that will distinguish His disciples and characterize His kingdom. If we love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves, enemies and all, we would exemplify the kind of love God speaks about in the lesson. Our Father in heaven is perfect and through the blood of Jesus we are to be perfect.

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