"A community of God's people to model God's Love"
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)
“Grow Up.” This is what God is calling us to do. I know some of you are saying right now, “I am grown and I’m a Christian, but I’m not going to bend over backward for those who do not respect, love, or honor me.” Well, what do you think Jesus is saying about that statement? As we know, his earthly ministry was not easy. There were people who denied him, persecuted him, and even crucified him; he still loved them enough to give his life as a ransom. Even for his enemies. What good is it for us to just love those who love us? Have we sacrificed anything? Jesus is love. He wants us to share in this same ministry. For, if we are truly Christians and are really grown (mature) in our faith, then we know we must love everyone.
I love the way the writer is challenging us to, “Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.” For, it is in times of trials that you get to know the real you. Loving those who love you means nothing in the eyes of Christ, it’s when we are able to extend love to those we know hate us that grant us an opportunity to receive our reward. Many of us find reasons or ways to exclude our enemies, even finding Scripture such as, Matthew 22:39, “Love thy neighbor”, to justify our decision. Think about it, if we look at the text with this concept in mind we then find a way to choose our enemies. Yet, we must remember Jesus allows the sun to shine on the just and the unjust; the rain to nourish everyone whether good or bad.
So, I encourage each of us to put away childish acts. Remember, love and holiness begins with God. The way we show that we have matured is to let that love flow out to others. It is not our job to monitor the acts of others; to be accountable for our own actions. If someone has hurt you along the way, I challenge you to go to them and allow the love of Christ to flow from your heart to theirs. As kingdom subjects we must “Grow Up.” We must live like it, we must love like it, if we are going to lead others to Christ. We must do our best — Grow Up!!
Rev. Anice Moses
Transitions is the way of the United Methodist Church, as our ministers/pastors are itinerant and only guaranteed appointments one year at a time.