Key Verse: Verse 46 - “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?"
Key Words: What reward have ye
Jesus is teaching his followers on what we know as the Sermon on the Mount.
No doubt looking down into Galilee and seeing the Roman soldiers, who no doubt persecuted them, Jesus tell them "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?"
It's easy to love those that love you; but what about those who don't love you. They mistreat you. Jesus says you love them as well. How hard is that?
When we first moved to Birmingham, we lived in the parsonage directly across the street from the church. It became very obvious after a very brief ministry that there were those outside the church; those who lived in the community that did not want us there. They would drive their vehicles through our yard. They would gather every Sunday around the parsonage and play hard rock music while smoking their cigarettes. On one occasion we even received a life threatening phone call. They attempted to set the parsonage on fire and would have succeeded if it had not been for a neighbor (who was also a member of the church) who saw them and came to our aid by awakening us from sleep. We were able to put the fire out before much damage was incurred. It would have been very easy to be angry and bitter with them. On one occasion one of the young men that was attempting to run us off cut his leg severely while attempting to jump through a glass pane window at the church. He had broken in and was attempting to get away. We stopped the bleeding; wrapped his leg and had him carried to the emergency room. We visited with him in the hospital and showed him some kindness. When he asked why we were being kind to him after all he had done to us; we simply said "the love of Christ constrains us". Amazingly all the vandalism stopped. Loving your enemy isn't easy, but it is Christian.
What to do:
✞ If you retaliate in kind, what kind of Christian does that make you?
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