The Better Life of Peace

You have heard that is 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 the good, and send rain on the just and the unjust…Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).

As a Christian we are called to forgive no matter what. No matter how bad someone has hurt us. No exceptions.

Who would you consider an enemy, a parent, child, teacher, spouse, ex-spouse, friend, ex-friend, pastor? Have you forgiven them?  How do you respond to the enemies/adversaries in your world?

Jesus says to love ~ (an attitude or action, having a humble, self-giving heart, wanting the best for them, seeing them as God sees them).

There is a way to love our enemy ~ Jesus is our model. He doesn’t say they should face justice or that you have to have them over for dinner one night a week. But he does say to love them as a model of Jesus. “The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Benefits of loving our enemies:

There’s a physical benefit. “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). There is scientific evidence that surpressed anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness WILL affect our health. Healing WILL begin when we forgive and work through our pain.

There’s a psychological benefit. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a).

There’s a relational benefit. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Love is the only power that can turn an enemy into a friend.

There’s a spiritual benefit. “But if you do not forgive men of their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mathew 6:15). We accept God’s forgiveness, we must accept and forgive others’.

We reap what we sow. If we forgive, we reap forgiveness. If we bless, we reap blessings. “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:25).

There’s a kingdom benefit. “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 brother only, what do you do more than others? Do not even tax collectors do so?” (Matthew 5: 46-48).

Love ~ Do what God has already done for us ~ Do unto others. Help those who hurt you. Return good for evil.

You may ask, “How do I do this?” Through the P-E-A-C-E process. “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-18).

P ~ Pray for God to give you the ability and love in your heart to forgive those who have hurt you. Pray also for those who hurt you. You will get personal healing. “…bless those who curse you, pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:28).

E ~ Empathize ~ Understand what they may be going through. Find out what is really going on under the surface. Hurt people, hurt people. Love the pearl that lies in the mire. “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).

A ~ Act ~ Do good to those who hate you. Return good for evil. It is a choice you have to make. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).

C ~ Confess ~ Be willing to admit. Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Be a man or woman of character, humbling going beyond your pride and confess, turn and receive. Ask God if you might also be part to blame? “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

E ~ Emulate ~ Imitate God! Jesus loved and forgave His enemies. Those who beat Him, those who spit on Him, those who denied Him, those who ridiculed Him and those who hung Him on the cross. What happened in the past ~ forgive. Show Jesus’ love that is working in your life. It’s tough. It’s freeing. It’s commanded. “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7). Submit to God’s ways. Love. Forgive. Do good to those who hurt you.

When will you initiate  the peace process? Only then can we live the better life, the abundant life!

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2 Responses to “The Better Life of Peace”

  1. […] The Better Life of Peace (greatvictories.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] The Better Life of Peace (greatvictories.wordpress.com) […]

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