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Matthew 5:43-48, Love for Enemies

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
— Matthew 5:44

NL Daily Devotion for Friday, February 1, 2019

Source: AP CC0 Kurdistani Man

Source: AP CC0 Kurdistani Man

by Daniel D. Maurer Clergy Stuff

I had interviewed a US soldier for my fourth published non-fiction book, Endure: The Power of Spiritual Assets for Resilience to Trauma and Stress. The one thing that has continued to stick with me through those interviews is how much he genuinely cared for the people, many of whom were trying to kill him.

I remember asking Hunter (a pseudonym I used in the book for this US soldier) whether or not this was something he could live with in his Christian faith. He replied, “Sometimes you gotta break the rules Jesus gave us for the sake of others.”

Jesus command, I believe, IS something to be taken literally. I believe it’s not as if Jesus said these things, but he meant them allegorically. No.

Love your enemies. Period.

The challenge we have today in an increasingly complex and seemingly dangerous world is how best to live this out. I think it starts with the little enemies, first. You know . . . the person who annoys you at work. The jerk who just cut you off in the other lane.

Then, maybe we can move on to the tougher things, like whether people living a world away and following a different God are “worthy” to be loved.

Well . . . maybe that’s not as tough as we make it. Maybe it means we give something up. Food for thought, as always. But that’s what our faith is about!

Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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