If you have been riding with us for the past few weeks you know that we have been traipsing through some of the “why’s” behind intimidation. The scripture we started with is in Philippians 1:27-28, and we see through those verses that we are to live as citizens of heaven and that we are to not let our enemies intimidate us. By doing so, we are showing the world, especially at the time the person that is or that we are allowing to intimidate us, that we beLIeVE that the Jesus in us is mightier than their attacks, and we will not be suppressed by their threats.
So, this week we pulled back up Luke 6:27-35 and brought in the piece where Jesus is reminding us to do exactly what we don’t want to do and that is to love our enemies. hahaha. You guys have been courageous over the past week as you have shared the conversations you are having with folks that were on your enemy list and how some of those relationships are now out in the open. NO MORE HIDING from each other. But, in particular this week, we also brought in the discussion that Matthew recorded in chapter 5, which is labeled the sermon on the mount and in particular down in verse 42-44 where again we see that we are to give to everyone who asks, and love our enemies, and if that’s not hard enough HE tags on “while you’re at it, pray for those who are smacking ya around verbally (persecute)” (bivo translation).
What we now know is that Jesus, when asking us to love our neighbors, our relatives, and our enemies, He is referring back to Leviticus. Yep, that riveting read for most. hahaha. (It really is pretty cool, if you go at it like eating an elephant…one piece at a time). Take a peek:
[Lev 19:17-18 NLT] 17 “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives (neighbors). Confront people directly (reprove, correct, reason, convince) so you will not be held guilty for their sin. 18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
I love how the NLT translates the first part of the verse. Do not nurse hatred. Man, and isn’t that what we do? Picture retrieving that baby bottle from the shelf and opening the top. Yea, there is such care taken when preparing this bottle, at least for the first child. When numbers 2, 3, 4 and 26 come along, they are preparing the bottle themselves. But, this is what we do, when someone has “wronged us” or when we perceive that someone may not like us, or we just don’t jee haw together. We go to the cupboard pull out the bottle, open up the top and pour in hate (bitterness, resentment). We fill it up, place the top back on, and then start to feed our heart with it. If it starts to empty, we will then seek others who we believe will agree with our stance, pull the top off, and let them fill it up for us to get another feeding. And, the results are what? Yea, malnourished, we begin to look scrawny, take on the victim roll, and isolation is right around the corner. And, who knows what else is lurking when we turn that corner. WHAT IF?
What if we became what Jesus is telling us to be about? What would it look like if I grabbed the same bottle, opened it up, and then started to fill it up with prayer for my heart? What if I started asking God to reveal what is the darkness in my heart that needs to be driven out by His light. What if we poured in the bottle reconciliation where we call the “enemy” and at least clean our side of the fence by praying with our brother and sister, thereby admitting where we are in the relationship? And then, what if when we are giving to everyone who asks, and their follow-through doesn’t match what we “think’ or “expected”, we instead of becoming invisible (nursing hate) by neglecting calls? Or, are we are now starting to be real busy when a month ago, we would drop everything to help (not referring to dollars here gang)? What if we had those conversations? What if we poured in our bottle grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness through our love of Christ roaring in us? Wouldn’t this open the door to both parties having the opportunity to live out the words of Christ? Maybe, just maybe our name is on their list as public enemy number one. Maybe, the person we have been helping is fearful to tell the one helping the truth, in fear that the help may vanish.
Let’s start by giving grace to one another when asked. What will you fill your bottle up with to nurse that will refresh and replenish versus malnourish?
love em up!