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“But if you will listen, I say to you, love your enemies and do something wonderful for them in return for their hatred. When someone curses you, bless that person in return. When you are mistreated and harassed by others, accept it as your mission to pray for them.” Luke 6:27-28
Jesus isn’t saying this because he agrees with what that person has done to you. It’s not about the other person, it’s about you and your reactions. It’s okay to feel your feelings…hurt, betrayal, anger…but deal with them. Don’t let them seep into your heart.
If you’re not careful with your heart, you’ll become negative and unforgiving. Then bitter and resentful, and even revengeful. Don’t poison yourself. Take your feelings and turn them into prayer.
Point to ponder while you wander….Praying for your enemies and those who’ve hurt you directs your negative feelings into a positive. It changes you for the better, and invites God into the situation. Wisdom, peace, hope, and love enter when God does.
When ever I listen to Billy Joel, I’m like man oh man…I love Billy Joel. The song that got me this time was Leningrad.
The lyrics are poignant poetry…take a gander…
Viktor was born in the spring of ’44
And never saw his father anymore
A child of sacrifice, a child of war
Another son who never had a father after Leningrad
Went off to school and learned to serve the state
Followed the rules and drank his vodka straight
The only way to live was drown the hate
A Russian life was very sad
And such was life in Leningrad
I was born in ’49
A cold war kid in McCarthy time
Stop ’em all at the 38th Parallel
Blast those yellow reds to hell
And cold war kids were hard to kill
Under their desks in an air raid drill
Haven’t they heard we won the war
What do they keep on fighting for?
Viktor was sent to some Red Army town
Served out his time, became a circus clown
The greatest happiness he’d ever found
Was making Russian children glad
And children lived in Leningrad
But children lived in Levittown
And hid in the shelters underground
Until the Soviets turned their ships around
And tore the Cuban missiles down
And in that bright October sun
We knew our childhood days were done
And I watched my friends go off to war
What do they keep on fighting for?
And so my child and I came to this place
To meet him eye to eye and face to face
He made my daughter laugh, then we embraced
We never knew what friends we had
Until we came to Leningrad
Point to ponder while you wander…
With so much ideological hating going on in the world…this song reminded me to remember this….”We never knew what friends we had Until we came to Leningrad”
I detest some of the ideologies out there in the world too. I am not ignorant of the violence and destruction. But the people are still God’s creation, that He loves. So pray big and be kind.
“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives His best–the sun to warm & the rain to nourish–to everyone.” Matthew 5:44-45 MSG
So many times in my life I’ve let people steal my joy and peace because of the way they’ve treated me. For too long I’ve let my day be darkened by someone else’s attitude. Jesus spoke this for our protection and for our good.
When we respond the way Jesus recommends, we are able to maintain our peace and joy. We grow in maturity. It’s a bad situation turned for our good. And we are helping someine who is struggling, because that other person clearly needs prayer, a love infusion, and more Jesus.
When we allow people (whether we like, love or loathe them) to color or even ruin our day by their behavior it means we have ceded control of our mind, will, and emotions to someone else. And that someone else probably doesn’t like themselves any more than they like us.
Something to ponder while you wander…a person’s treatment of you is a reflection of them, not you. Your reaction reveals your heart condition, not theirs.