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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Devotion for August 19, 2013

Love your enemies, Matthew 5



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


A light and cheerful children’s song to make your Monday happy.

To Keep God in Mind This Day

Lord, let me begin this day in devout meditations, in joy unspeakable, and in blessing and praising You, who has given me such good hope and everlasting consolation.

Lift up my mind above all these little things below, which are apt to distract my thoughts; and keep it above, until my heart is fully resolved to seek You every day, in the path where Jesus has trod before me.


A Prayer by Anne Bronte

My God (oh, let me call Thee mine,
Weak, wretched sinner though I be),
My trembling soul would fain be Thine;
My feeble faith still clings to Thee.

Not only for the Past I grieve,
The Future fills me with dismay;
Unless Thou hasten to relieve,
Thy suppliant is a castaway.

I cannot say my faith is strong,
I dare not hope my love is great;
But strength and love to Thee belong;
Oh, do not leave me desolate!

I know I owe my all to Thee;
Oh, TAKE the heart I cannot give!
Do Thou my strength — my Saviour be,
And MAKE me to Thy glory live.



Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Devotional painting of
The Vision of Saint Bernard by Pietro Perugino, ca. 1493. Bernard of Clairvaux was known for his charity and founded the Benedictine Order.

Proverbs 25:21-22 (ESV)

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,

For you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV)

Sermon on the Mount - Love Your Enemies [2]

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Notes on the Scripture

. . . continued from Saturday.

Thus, when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, he is not implying that we should feel towards them the type of affection we feel towards our spouse, or our family, or our friends. Instead, it is a general feeling of benevolence that we use to disarm our natural anger and hatred.

Imagine two siblings who fight all the time, who are very different and just don't get along. Each of them wants their parents to love them and hate their brother or sister, to side with them in their never ending disputes. But the parents love both of their children, absolutely and unconditionally.

People with an immature concept of God are like these children; they pray to God for victory over their enemies. The belt buckles of German soldiers in WW1 were inscribed Gott mit uns, “God with us.” We want the benefits of the Hebrews in the Old Testament, although we (like, so often, the Hebrews themselves) have no thought of complying with God's laws.

Matthew 5 anti-gay-protest
Matthew 5 would countenance
against angry demonstrations.

But Christ now asks us to take the view, not of ourselves as the squabbling child, but of the parent. We are to stand above our personal, selfish emotions and see other people as God sees them: his beautiful children whom he loves, even when they misbehave.

The love here is one of personal relationships. The ease with which we might declare that war is bad, or that somebody should be taking care of the poor, signal their irrelevance to the duty Christ has taught us. Christ instructs us to look to our own conduct. A nasty diatribe in a speech or publication, a sermon about how the government should be acting, an angry placard carried in a noisy demonstration: these activities not only fail to obey Christ's message of loving our enemy, but contravene his previous lesson about refusing to resist evil people.

It may be the hardest lesson in Christianity, but Matthew 5:38-47 can only be read one way. The passage is counter-intuitive; it is precisely the opposite of our natural inclination when we love good and despise evil; we want to force society to be good. Yet, there it is. Our duty to Christ is to rule our own conduct, not that of others.

That said, we certainly have a duty to speak the truth fearlessly, and to disseminate the message of love and charity that Christ teaches. But we must always keep at the forefront our motivation to love the wrongdoer; for a self-righteous and angry Christian message is worse than silence.

endless knot

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