2012-04-12 - Hard Lesson
Matt 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (NASB)
I have someone in my life right now that is a challenge. As my pastor would do I'm going to call this person Mr. A. This person is not wittingly my enemy but has made life very difficult repeatedly with no sign of letting up. There is a lot of frustration on my part to the point where I am more angry that I should be. Not really good at all.
So what is the answer? The problem is not that Mr. A. is my enemy or persecuting me for my faith. But I think this verse still applies. The number of things that should draw prayer as the answer first rather than last should be growing these days. The world spins faster and faster it seems, but our response in difficult situations should not be driven by emotion. If we can remember that we are witnesses and ambassadors it may give us the perspective that we need (v. 45).
We are sons and daughters of the King with responsibilities to more than ourselves. Tax collectors were desipised in Jesus' day, but Matthew was called as one of His disciples! Jesus spanned the gulf that culture had put into place to touch the heart of a hated tax collector. That man was one of the twelve who were sent out to tell the good news to the world around them, and the world was changed - just like the tax collector.
The answer is simple. The lesson is hard. Mr. A will not be drawn in by a flash of frustration, nor those around him. Is there a time when we go to the edge of town and shake the dust off our sandals? There is indeed that time. But before we do that we need to have done our part to bridge the gulf and faithfully represent our office. Even if we leave what we leave behind will have an impact.
Grace & Peace,