“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matt. 5:43-45 NIV
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The Devotional today is the third part of our series of devotionals with the title, “Live Like God’s Children”, where the advise of the disciple John was meditated upon. In the third chapter of his first letter to all Christians, the disciple John concluded that the one who lays claim to being a child of God must do the Will of God at all times and must love the brethren genuinely. He made it clear that doing the Will of God will be doing the right thing and that confers the status of righteousness on such an individual just as the one who loves the brethren must do so without restrictions and limitations similar to what Jesus Christ did for all believers – 1Jn. 3:1-20.
No doubt that this has been a long-standing pre-condition to be met by anyone who claims to be a child of the Most High and it predates the first coming of Jesus Christ. Most people who claim to be children of God, especially the Jews, not only accepted this condition but decided to display their actions of love only towards those who they feel love them. They had no love to spare for those who they feel do not love them or those they considered as enemies. Not only do they not love these group of people that they have so classified, but were advocating that such people should actually experience the expression of their hatred.
This was the standard until Jesus Christ began his Ministry and gave his first sermon on the Mount where he laid down what seemed to be the standard for all those who claim to be born again and are co-heirs to the kingdom, as made available to them through the Grace brought by his death and resurrection. In the record of that sermon as noted by Levi, who is also known as Matthew, and which is the foundation scripture for today’s Devotional, he reminded them of what they must have been told and which was the practice before then, which was that they should love their friends and hate their enemies – Matt. 5:43. He condemned this doctrine stating in that scripture what the true doctrine should be. They were to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them as that was the yardstick for measuring who was truly a child of the Almighty God noting that this same God demonstrates His love by causing the sun to shine on both the good and the evil ones and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous people – Matt. 5:43-46.
He wondered what reward the so called children of God were expecting if they show love to only those who love them when even tax collectors do that or greet only those who greet them when similar doctrine is practiced by pagans – Matt. 5:46-47.
The account of Luke, the medical doctor was a little bit more detailed on this same issue. In verses twenty-seven to thirty-one of the sixth chapter of his the biblical book named after him, he expatiated on this doctrine of Christ stating that;
- True children of God should love all people including those they classify as enemies. The summary here is that the child of God should use love to conquer evil where it exists – Rom. 12:21.
- True Children of God should do good to all including those who express hatred towards them. On no account should a child of God get involved with perpetuating evil as that can only be the result of negative thinking – Psa. 34:14; 1Pet. 3:11.
- True children of God should bless those who curse them and pray for those who mistreat them. A true child of God is expected to avoid revenge and wait on the Almighty God who it is that recompenses all according to their works – Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19.
- True children of God should be willing to freely give to the extent of what they have without restrictions. Jesus himself advised Christians to give freely so they can receive in multiples – Lk. 6:38. To give freely is to give without restrictions.
- True Children of God should only mete out to others the kind of treatment that they would want people to be meted out to them – Lk. 6:31. That again is one of the major advises that Jesus Christ gave which is that Christians are to do unto others what they want to be done unto them – Matt. 7:12.
These are very clear teachings and are not subject to arguments by anyone who truly claims to be a child of God and such is expected to implement all the instructions of the Almighty God and the above listed ones are not exempted. There is no doubt that adherence to these instructions for the carnal man may be challenging but that remains the reason why Christians must always seek the help and support of the Almighty God through the Holy Spirit as there cannot be any acceptable excuse for not faithfully living in them. There is no doubt that even as human beings, these are instructions that we will desire that people relate to us by and that being the case, we should not think twice in operating with people based on them just as the last of those instructions states that we should do to others what we will like done to us.
It will be simply wrong for us to proclaim ourselves as His children if we are not able to apply his instructions to our day-to-day living. We belong to Him only when we observe all His instructions. May the Almighty God grant us the Grace to continue to be His children in Jesus name. Amen.