I heard a sermon recently during which the speaker shared how hard it was for them to love people who are unloveable. They had experienced loved ones being targeted and harmed repeatedly.
I was reading today in Matthew when Jesus says, “Love your enemies”.
This is a hard teaching. It is much easier to be angry with those who hurt you. It is easier, in the heat of the dispute, to fight back. And later on, when you are smouldering over the events that have transpired, it is much easier to plan revenge than to forgive.
And what happens when the problem continues. You forgive once, twice, but still the problem recurs. The painful event repeats itself, the hurt re-inflames. There must be a limit, somewhere to draw the line?
Worldly wisdom says things must change, that we must take control of a situation, stand up to our bullies, leave the abusive partner, take legal action, refuse service, move away, resign the job, go to court, stand up for what is right, fight for your share, fight fire with fire, etc.
There is some wisdom in these decisions, and I must admit to counselling people to leave a situation rather than plot to harm or even kill someone who is continually hurting you, even in a marriage. Better to leave than to kill; harm minimization makes some sense to me.
Jesus answered Peter’s direct question, how many times must I forgive my brother in one day if he sins against me? 7 times?
The answer was seventy seven, or seventy times seven, or infinity really.
In other words, people who love Jesus must be always forgiving those who sin against them.
We do not have this innate ability.
Yet we can pray for the Holy Spirit to give us power to do the things God wants us to do. And that prayer will be answered.
God loves the un-love-able.
That’s us, just ask anyone who hates you.
If we believe in a forgiving God, we must also forgive. Not that our unforgiveness nullifies God’s forgiveness, we can’t undo God’s work (though it might feel like it), but we can resist him, and swim against the strong, strong tide of his love. Better to go with it though, and forgive. When we forgive each other we are participating in the great work of the cross, giving witness to the powerful blood of Jesus.
Do you believe that your sins are forgiven?
Lets love our enemies.