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Rachel Dunn
Devon, UK
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Pray for your enemies, as this behaviour shows you are a child of God.
Matthew 5:43-48
Be spiritual grown-ups, loving exceptionally, showing yourselves to be sons of Father God, who loves everyone without condition.
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#love
#pray
#spiritualmaturity
Published November 24th, 2015
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Reflection
Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, showing yourselves to be his children. So we are to be perfect . Wow! Ok, that seems like a big ask, doesn’t it? In verse 17-20 of chapter 5, Jesus tells the disciples not to trivialise even the smallest detail of the law, but to take every detail very seriously. In fact he goes on to say that we should actually be exceeding the standards of the law!! Right from verse 21, Jesus takes his disciples through various areas of their lives in which they need to raise their game. Here’s a brief summary: You’ve heard: Do not murder, I say: Don’t even get angry. You’ve heard: Don’t commit adultery, I say: Close your eyes. You’ve heard: If you divorce your wife, you must give her a certificate of divorce, I say: Don’t even go there. You’ve heard: Don’t make a promise you don’t intend to keep, I say: Don’t make promises at all. You’ve heard: It’s okay to return violence with more violence, I say: Respond with a gracious and generous attitude.” Then comes the final command we’re looking at today: You’ve heard: Love those who love you and hate those who don’t, I say: Love EVERYONE , and pray for those who harass you. Mind blowing, isn’t it? Jesus is not simply asking us to try and squeeze out some namby-pamby squishy feeling for our tormentor, he commands us to pray for them. When? Always. No ifs or buts. Jesus gives no out clause… ‘well, I guess if they commit massive atrocities, then I’ll let you hate them.’ Absolutely not. Prayerfully love your enemies, always. Why? In Ps 145:9 it says: “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” That means everyone – even the bad guys. In v45 of our passage Jesus expands “He makes his sun rise on both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” Basically: we should love all, because that is what God’s like, it’s his very nature. He simply can’t help being good. Jesus explains in v46-47 that the way we live as children of God, should far surpass that of the ‘goodness’ of this world, because, let’s face it, most decent law-abiding people are, of course, outraged by murder; they feel hurt if they are taken advantage of; cheating is wrong and along with these wrongs they would feel that justice needs to be done and they ought to be compensated. Jesus response: No – that’s not how children of God behave. You have God’s light in you, so let that light shine! Let the love and goodness he has placed in you be seen by others, that they may see the Father of lights shining through you! Be who he made you. How? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried asking God to bless someone who has deeply upset you. It’s hard, but it’s also totally transforming. The hardest bit is that God has an uncanny habit of putting his finger right on the heart of the matter, lovingly pointing out the part you’ve played in whatever mess it is. This on its own is a transforming experience. Then as you pray blessings on your transgressor, your view of that person will change. This probably won’t happen instantly, it usually requires some knuckling down, but you’ll begin to see them in a different light and God will grant you the grace and wisdom that you need to move forward with love and humility. Therefore be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. The Greek word here means perfect or full-grown. It speaks of someone who has become mature (made perfect) by fulfilling the necessary process (spiritual journey). The behaviour Jesus speaks of in this passage is that shown by someone who is grown-up in their faith and whose life speaks of being a child of God. It is evident by the way they live. If we are going to be the kind of people that really impact our world for Christ. This is how we need to be. Are you?
notes
1448315314666 Reflection 1448315314 1448397597 Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, showing yourselves to be his children. So we are to be perfect . Wow! Ok, that seems like a big ask, doesn’t it? In verse 17-20 of chapter 5, Jesus tells the disciples not to trivialise even the smallest detail of the law, but to take every detail very seriously. In fact he goes on to say that we should actually be exceeding the standards of the law!! Right from verse 21, Jesus takes his disciples through various areas of their lives in which they need to raise their game. Here’s a brief summary: You’ve heard: Do not murder, I say: Don’t even get angry. You’ve heard: Don’t commit adultery, I say: Close your eyes. You’ve heard: If you divorce your wife, you must give her a certificate of divorce, I say: Don’t even go there. You’ve heard: Don’t make a promise you don’t intend to keep, I say: Don’t make promises at all. You’ve heard: It’s okay to return violence with more violence, I say: Respond with a gracious and generous attitude.” Then comes the final command we’re looking at today: You’ve heard: Love those who love you and hate those who don’t, I say: Love EVERYONE , and pray for those who harass you. Mind blowing, isn’t it? Jesus is not simply asking us to try and squeeze out some namby-pamby squishy feeling for our tormentor, he commands us to pray for them. When? Always. No ifs or buts. Jesus gives no out clause… ‘well, I guess if they commit massive atrocities, then I’ll let you hate them.’ Absolutely not. Prayerfully love your enemies, always. Why? In Ps 145:9 it says: “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” That means everyone – even the bad guys. In v45 of our passage Jesus expands “He makes his sun rise on both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” Basically: we should love all, because that is what God’s like, it’s his very nature. He simply can’t help being good. Jesus explains in v46-47 that the way we live as children of God, should far surpass that of the ‘goodness’ of this world, because, let’s face it, most decent law-abiding people are, of course, outraged by murder; they feel hurt if they are taken advantage of; cheating is wrong and along with these wrongs they would feel that justice needs to be done and they ought to be compensated. Jesus response: No – that’s not how children of God behave. You have God’s light in you, so let that light shine! Let the love and goodness he has placed in you be seen by others, that they may see the Father of lights shining through you! Be who he made you. How? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried asking God to bless someone who has deeply upset you. It’s hard, but it’s also totally transforming. The hardest bit is that God has an uncanny habit of putting his finger right on the heart of the matter, lovingly pointing out the part you’ve played in whatever mess it is. This on its own is a transforming experience. Then as you pray blessings on your transgressor, your view of that person will change. This probably won’t happen instantly, it usually requires some knuckling down, but you’ll begin to see them in a different light and God will grant you the grace and wisdom that you need to move forward with love and humility. Therefore be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. The Greek word here means perfect or full-grown. It speaks of someone who has become mature (made perfect) by fulfilling the necessary process (spiritual journey). The behaviour Jesus speaks of in this passage is that shown by someone who is grown-up in their faith and whose life speaks of being a child of God. It is evident by the way they live. If we are going to be the kind of people that really impact our world for Christ. This is how we need to be. Are you? notes 11448315314669
Arc
editing
NT
Matthew 5:43-48
esv
mine
f “You have heard that it was said,
This is what you've heard:
g ‘You shall love your neighbor
'Love your neighbour
and hate your enemy.’
but hate your enemy.'
concessive
ideaexplanation
But I say to you,
Yet I say:
i Love your enemies
Love your enemies
and j pray for those who persecute you,
[but don't stop there] pray for your persecutors!
progression
k so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
[with the result] that you show yourselves to be sons of Father God.
actionresult
negativepositive
For he makes his sun rise on the evil
because God makes the sun rise on both the evil
and on the good,
And also on the good,
bothand
and l sends rain on the just
[or as another example] He sends rain on both the just
and on the unjust.
and also on the unjust.
m For if you love those who love you,
And because if you love only those who love you,
what reward do you have?
then what reward will you gain?
conditional
Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Don't even the tax collectors [for example] do the same?
And if you greet only your brothers, 1
[and as another example] if you greet only your brothers,
what more are you doing than others?
then what more are you doing than those who are not God's children.
Do not even n the Gentiles do the same?
Don't even the Gentiles [for example] also do this?
series
o You therefore must be p perfect,
You therefore must grow up into completeness,
q as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Even as your heavenly Father is perfect and complete.
comparison
bilateral
Be spiritual grown-ups, showing yourselves to be sons of Father God, who loves indiscriminately.
discourse
1448315314666 Arc 1448315314 1448315314 editing NT 40 5 43 5 48 Matthew 5:43-48 esv mine f “You have heard that it was said, This is what you've heard: i1 g ‘You shall love your neighbor 'Love your neighbour i7 and hate your enemy.’ but hate your enemy.' i8 i56 concessive 2 i14 ideaexplanation 1 But I say to you, Yet I say: i2 i Love your enemies Love your enemies i9 and j pray for those who persecute you, [but don't stop there] pray for your persecutors! i10 i55 progression i42 ideaexplanation 1 k so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. [with the result] that you show yourselves to be sons of Father God. i39 i53 actionresult 2 i54 negativepositive 2 For he makes his sun rise on the evil because God makes the sun rise on both the evil i16 and on the good, And also on the good, i18 i62 bothand 1 and l sends rain on the just [or as another example] He sends rain on both the just i17 and on the unjust. and also on the unjust. i19 i63 bothand 1 i28 ideaexplanation 1 m For if you love those who love you, And because if you love only those who love you, i4 what reward do you have? then what reward will you gain? i22 i57 conditional 2 Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Don't even the tax collectors [for example] do the same? i21 i36 ideaexplanation 1 And if you greet only your brothers, 1 [and as another example] if you greet only your brothers, i5 what more are you doing than others? then what more are you doing than those who are not God's children. i23 i58 conditional 2 Do not even n the Gentiles do the same? Don't even the Gentiles [for example] also do this? i24 i35 ideaexplanation 1 i64 ideaexplanation 1 i61 series o You therefore must be p perfect, You therefore must grow up into completeness, i6 q as your heavenly Father is perfect. Even as your heavenly Father is perfect and complete. i25 i26 comparison 1 i60 bilateral 1 3 Be spiritual grown-ups, showing yourselves to be sons of Father God, who loves indiscriminately. 1 1 1 1 1 1 100 100 esv 1 mine 1 a 2 discourse 11448315314668
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