If you have been following, you will remember that the last post, "Step one - What is love?" focused on 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. Did you do your homework? Did you find out what love is, and what it isn't? If you haven't done that, take a minute to look at it now. You will also remember that love is not a feeling, but an action.
Okay. Now we are ready to find out who we need to apply this action to. I admit, this is a tough one. If you have ever been misunderstood, betrayed, abused, or treated badly by anyone, you know that it is hard to love them.
But Jesus didn't leave anyone out. Look at what he says in Luke 6.
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Did you get all that? Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you.
Bottom line: Your actions do not depend on who they are. Your actions are a result of who you are. You are children of the Most High God. And He is merciful. The prophet Daniel said in chapter 9 -
9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
And James, in chapter 2 -
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Mercy triumphs over judgement. To be loving is always better than to be right.
This is a hard lesson for these hard times. We in the United States are feeling divided and fractured. It seems that every group is against every other group. Take your pick. Political. Racial. Religious. Everyone is judging everyone else based on who they think they are. But that is not our job. Our job is to show mercy to all. Everyone. Whether they agree with you or not. Whether or not they are merciful to you.
So here is your homework. Make yourself a sign or a note or a memo or whatever you need to do so that you will see it often. Write down these three verses:
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Mercy triumphs over judgement.
Let these words sink into your heart and your mind. And the next time you are tempted to lash out because of something that someone else does, remember who you are. And be merciful.
Previous posts in this series: