What do you value more—your rights when abused and mistreated or the eternal destiny of your abuser? Like Christ we are called to love our enemies.
Ezra 1 & 2
Loving Your Enemies
Paul’s Eternal Focus
What an incredible example of boldness in the face of intense persecution! Paul had just been beaten by a mob. It says they were, “seeking to kill him.” After he was rescued, he asked the soldiers if he could address his abusers and then he began to share his testimony and to prepare their hearts for the gospel.
Like Christ who died for us when we were His enemies, he was more concerned about their spiritual destiny than any harm done to him.
Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matt. 5.44).
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Phil. 2.3-4).
Like Paul and Jesus, we need to resolve to keep our focus, not on any wrongs done to us, but on others’ need for a Savior!
That doesn’t mean that those who abuse physically, sexually, or in any other way should be allowed to continue illegal or immoral behavior. But even when the right thing to do is to report a crime or in some other way allow the abuser to suffer the consequences of his actions, the focus of our hearts should be eternal, forgiving them, trusting God in our own lives, and praying for their salvation.
Today’s Other Readings:
Ezra 1 & 2:
God the Author of Human History
The book of Ezra picks up where 2 Chronicles left off, with a pagan king named Cyrus sending the captives who wanted to return, back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
Verse 1 says, “that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled …”
God was orchestrating the course of human events. History is His-story.
And just as God is in control of the events of human history, He is in control of our individual histories, as well. Continue reading