Tag Archives: Mercy

Love My Enemies? Really?!

Believe it or not the subject of “Love your enemies” is just as much therapeutic for me as it will be for you.  Before I have ever started blogging, I have always enjoyed writing. Sometimes I would write to God about my concerns, worries, fears and even anger toward others. I have also been very good at writing people, especially if someone has hurt me, my family or church.  There have been many times in my life where I have been able to relate to Peter the disciple of Jesus. For those of you who have never heard the true story, Peter took his sword and cut off a mans ear because they were coming to take Jesus away! Folks, this was a man of God, a follower of Jesus and he was so angry and protective that he lost it! When this incident took place Jesus said to Peter, “You do not know what spirit you are of…” and proceeded to heal the mans ear.

As human beings the first thing we want to do is retaliate! Some of us are ready to rip others up one side and down the other, especially when they’re cruel, unkind and sometimes just downright ignorant.  You can probably tell by my  blog that I am dealing with an issue myself right now.  No it’s not my family,  in fact it doesn’t matter who or what it is, what matters is HOW do we do it? “How do we do what?”  How do we LOVE our enemies or those that have wronged us or offended us? Allow me to tell you how I do it:  Just today, I asked the Lord for help. I asked Him to help me love the way He loves.  Jesus himself said it’s possible, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  One particular scripture that the Lord has been speaking to me throughout the day is “Love your enemies…” as I looked it up in the Bible, I found the words of Jesus saying, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say LOVE  YOUR ENEMIES! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way (when you do this) you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…” John 5:43-45 nlt.  Notice he provides a way out of common temptation to react. Jesus is saying that there is a better way to deal with our issues with others:  He says for us to “pray” for them.  This act immediately turns our attention from lashing back at them to “showing mercy.”  Did you know the Bible says that when we “judge” others that we will be “judged” with the same judgement we are judging others? It’s true. In another passage Jesus says, “…when you stand praying forgive, for if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins…” Mark 11:25-26.

Friends, we are all faced with difficult and painful situations in life. And the sad thing is, many times they occur by the same people. I have good news! Jesus has a helpful answer for this as well, “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Mathew 18:21-22

I am a human being just like you. I have feelings like you. I get hurt just like you.  Did you know that Jesus was presented with the same circumstances as you and me? The word of God says that He was tempted in every way that we are, “yet without sin!”  Instead of retaliation, anger, unforgiveness and bitterness, Jesus chose to show mercy. He practiced what he preached! Remember the scripture I shared at the beginning when Jesus said to “pray” for those that persecute us? He lived what He taught. While he was hanging on the cross he prayed to the Father in heaven and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34

Even in the toughest and most painful times in my life I am always reminded of how much he loves me. How much he has forgiven me and how important it is for me to “forgive” those that have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me.  I have found that this is the only way to relieve the pain and restore peace.  But it’s a choice. I can choose to hang on to the hurt or I can love my enemies by praying for them and forgiving them. I choose the latter.


His Love is Never Limited

Jesus Love is not limited. When he walked this earth as a man he shunned no one. He loved everyone especially those who were despised and ridiculed by others.  As I was thinking the other morning, I remembered a true story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples were invited by Mathew (a despised tax collector) for dinner at his home, “Later Mathew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. BUT..when the Pharisees (people who claim they love God but show NO mercy to others) saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” Then he added, “Now GO AND LEARN THE MEANING OF THIS SCRIPTURE; I want YOU  to show MERCY not offer sacrifices (sacrifices today are doing all the ‘right’ things outwardly yet inside there is no mercy or love toward others). “For I have  come to call not those who THINK they are righteous, but those who KNOW they are sinners.” Mathew 9:10-13 nlt

As I remembered this passage of scripture he began to show me a very important point: The fact that Jesus sat and dined with sinners (we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God) was proof that he was not condemning them, but in fact demonstrating God’s Love and Mercy in action. The religious people could not stand even the thought of being around them which was a sure sign, proving their lack of mercy with hearts full of judgment and condemnation (Mathew 23:23-26)

As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I have chosen to live a life of mercy as He has commanded me to. Just as the scriptures say, “those that have been forgiven much, show others much love.”  In my 30 years as a follower of Jesus I have been forgiven of much and have lived and continue to learn that Loving others in the way He has loved me is the only way of life for me.

Something my wise husband who has been a teacher of the Bible for over 30 years said this in regards to the religious phrase “hate the sin love the sinner”: “We don’t need to hate the spec in our brothers eye-The log in our own eye is a full-time job.” Well said. Meaning, don’t get caught up in others mistakes, but rather take that energy and work on improving our own lives. Love God, Love Others, Love Life.


A-Stones-Throw-Away

And there she was, a beautiful woman crouched  down covering her head in fear knowing her death was just a stones-throw-away! Then, all of a sudden, a kind and gentle man approached her and said to the crowd surrounding her, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down and began to write in the sand…when the accusers heard what he had said, they slipped away one by one, then the man stood up and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No Lord,” she said, and Jesus said to her  “Neither do I go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 (New Living Translation)

After the 2011 Super Bowl began I sat down to check my facebook newsfeed and as I scrolled down I could not believe one of the posts I read regarding Christina Aguilera and her National Anthem performance. It was not so much what was said, but it was “who” said it (a fellow Christian): Filled with judgement and condemnation.  I thought to myself, “Aren’t we Christians?! What kind of example are we setting to those surrounding us? Especially the ones we’re called to win to Christ.”  Then I began to think about Jesus and how gentle and merciful he was (and is) during his life here on this earth before his death and resurrection. He set so many examples for the Christian to follow and yet sometimes, because of our words and our actions, I feel many of us have forgotten who we represent! It seems as though we have allowed ourselves to be tricked into following religion instead of Jesus.  When we as Christians read this story of the woman caught in adultery we say, “Yes, that’s right, we are to show love and be merciful” But then when REAL life presents itself  it seems that many times  we’re left standing with rocks in one hand and a pitch fork in the other.

To the Christian: If you are a true follower of Jesus, check your heart and your motives. Ask yourself this very simple and world renown question: “What would Jesus Do?” Take a close look again at our Saviors life…how did He live and treat others? And then make the necessary adjustments and act accordingly.

To the person who is on the fence regarding Christianity:  I know it may sound strange, but don’t make your decision based on the people around you.  As Christians we are flawed! Jesus said that there is “Treasure in Earthen Vessels” meaning, as people, we are going to make lot’s of mistakes and that your BEST example is Jesus Himself.  He came to forgive and show God’s mercy in action. He was a man with no sin, but yet he became sin for us…he paid a penalty that none of us deserve and why? Because, “God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever chooses to believe in Him (Jesus) would not perish, but have life everlasting” John 3:16  He loves and forgives you, and all He asks of you is to believe and love others in return.


Is God with You?

How would you  feel  if  members of your family were plotting to kill you? What do you think your reaction would be if someone close to you sold you into slavery? Or what if you were wrongfully accused and thrown into prison? Sounds like a CNN headliner right? What I am about to share with you is a TRUE story of a man named Joseph and how because of a dream, his brothers set out to kill him.  In this dream he saw his family bowing down to him just before he was about to help and save them and many others from a great famine. When he shared this dream his brothers they were so outraged and full of jealousy  toward Joseph.  Reuben, Josephs older brother influenced his brothers into not killing him but suggested they just throw Joseph in an empty cistern (Reuben’s plan was to later return Joseph to his father). Now instead of leaving Joseph to die in the dry well they decided to sell him to some local traders who were passing by.

With all of this devastation taking place in Josephs life, was God with him? Let’s see what the word of God says, “When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH, so he succeeded in everything he did and served in the home of his Egyptian master.” The following is AMAZING!  Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar so he soon made Joseph his personal assistant.” (Genesis chapter 39:1-4 nlt) WOW! Talk about turning things around!

Not long after, Potiphars wife decided she wanted Joseph for herself, but Joseph refused to give in to her lure, so he fled from her. She was so outraged that she made up a lie about Joseph which led to his imprisonment. Right now you’re probably thinking “enough already, give the guy a break!” So what happened next? The scriptures tell us,The Lord was with Joseph and showed him His faithful Love How? “Before long the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The LORD was with him and caused everything he did to SUCCEED.

WHY WAS JOSEPH ABLE TO RISE ABOVE HIS PROBLEMS? He KNEW GOD was with him! Because of his connection with God he was able to master his emotions by refusing to allow anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred toward his brothers overtake him. Joseph refused to judge his brothers and chose to show them mercy “But Joseph replied, ”Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but GOD intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people (there was a famine and Joseph was very powerful and had harvested grain to help feed others during the famine) No don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them”

Key: Learning to not blame others is the FIRST step to mastering our emotions. Joseph understood that God would turn his circumstances around IF he kept his heart from bitterness, anger and hatred. He knew that the ONLY WAY OUT would be for him to show mercy toward his brothers and because he did, GOD showed MERCY on Joseph and he will do the same for you and me.  Do you have family, friends or co-workers that have hurt you or committed wrongful acts against you? I encourage you to get connected with God right now if you want to see your present circumstances turn around in your favor. If you’re a Christian, ask God to help you show mercy as He has been merciful to you. If you are not a Christian, the Bible says “They that call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved” Ask God to forgive you and receive His Son Jesus Christ, believing that Jesus went to the cross in your place…taking your sins upon Himself. Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. Take His gift of mercy and give out mercy. The Bible says that God shows His mercy to those who are merciful (forgiving) toward others.

The Lord IS with you my friend!  Don’t allow your present circumstances imprison you. Just like Joseph you can get rid of unforgiving thoughts and emotions toward those that have hurt you. Let it go and let God work it all out.  When you do this the Lord WILL work on your behalf just as He did Joseph’s.

http://www.poncechurch.com/ for Pastor Rick’s recent series on “Mastering Our Emotions”