All of us on this journey through life have been hurt. I have learned that there are different kinds of pain. I believe that one of the worst kinds of pain is being hurt by a friend. Once you have been hurt by your friends, it changes the whole dynamic of the friendship, or it completely ends that friendship. There was a time in my life where I thought that I had a friend, but it turned out that it wasn’t the case. Unfortunately, that friendship had ceased, but it showed me how I need to forgive them. One of the hardest things that is hard for people to do is to forgive other people for their wrongdoings. Sometimes people would keep score and keep tabs of their wrongdoings. That’s not the kind of life that we are supposed to live. We shouldn’t keep score but instead we should forgive them. While it may be a hard thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do and it’s biblical. How do I know this? It’s in today’s passage.
In today’s passage, Jesus talks about the idea of forgiveness, specifically in Matthew 5:43-48. I want to focus on verses 43-44. The Bible reads: “43. You have heard the law says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” The phrase: “love your neighbor” has been mentioned all throughout the Bible. It first came into play in Leviticus 19:18 where it says “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Did you see the phrase: “love your neighbor.” This is something that we all must do. In other words, we cannot show favoritism. Paul tells us this in Romans 2:11 where it states, “For God does not show favoritism.” God loves people and wants to be in relationship with us. Not only do we need to love one another, but we also need to forgive others as well. It may be a hard thing to do, but it’s something that we need to do. If God can forgive people, then so can we. My challenge to you is to think about the people that you have held a grudge for the longest time. When you have thought of those people or that one person, pray for them and surrender that grudge. James 5:16 says to not only confess but we need to pray for them as well. Life is not worthy living if we held grudges against other people.
Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)
Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.