One of the toughest things Jesus told us to do was in Matthew 5:44. He said, “I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them” (TPT). I have to tell you, that goes against everything that I want to do in those situations. The easiest thing to do is to hate the person who hates you, curse the person who curses you, yell at the person who hates you and to fight anyone who comes against you. That’s the way I’m wired anyway. The things Jesus is asking us to do here goes against my nature.
I believe God asks us to act this way because we are to be a reflection of Him and who He is. When we are full of ourselves, and someone does something to us, it’s who we are on the inside that spills out onto them. When we replace who we are with who God is inside us, our reactions change. Everywhere we go, we will be spilling God’s love onto anyone who runs into us. The hardest part of being a Christian, is getting rid of all my selfish desires so that I can be filled with more of who He is, but that is God’s desire for each one of us. It’s a constant battle, but it’s one our spirit must be victorious in.
For many of us, we view God as the person we are when someone cuts us off on the road. He’s angry and out for payback. What Jesus said gives us insight into what God is like. Psalm 145:8 does as well. It says, “You’re kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail you. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness.” God isn’t angry and out to get us when we mess up. Like a good father, He’s kind and does everything He can to help us succeed at being more like He is. He’s patient with us in our failures as well. As we get to know Him more, He will become increasingly more evident in our life through our responses to people.
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Years ago, most cities had a local Rejection Hotline phone number you could give out to someone who asked for your number. When the other person would try to call you, they would hear, “Welcome to the Rejection Hotline. You’ve been rejected! The person who gave this to you didn’t want you to have their real number.” It goes on to give some excuses why they might have given that number to you. After that, it says, “Please take the hint, accept that you were rejected and get over it.” It’s comical unless you’re the person on the receiving end. None of us like to be or feel rejected. Being rejected usually stirs up anger, fear and insecurity in us, but it doesn’t have to.
In the book of Samuel, the people of Israel didn’t like Samuel’s sons, nor did they want them as judges over Israel. They went to Samuel and said, “Look, you are getting old and your sons don’t follow your example. So then, appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have” (1 Samuel 8:5 GNT). The Lord encouraged Samuel by reminding him that they were rejecting God rather than him, but I’m sure he felt like it wasn’t that way. God then told him to warn them what having a king would be like and then give them what they wanted.
After he anointed Saul as king, Samuel didn’t go into hiding. Instead he continued to serve them. 1 Samuel 12:23 says, “As for me, the Lord forbid that I should sin against him by no longer praying for you. Instead, I will teach you what is good and right for you to do.” He didn’t go away and let them wander away from God. He continued to pray for them and to help them do what was right. In like 6:28, Jesus said, “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” (TPT). If nothing else, the next time you feel rejected, pray for that person. Chances are they’re not rejecting you, but rather the Spirit of God in you.
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