Phil talked about things that we shouldn’t say when talking to people with deep hurts and wounds from others. What statements or phrases have you heard others use that are not helpful for those going through pain?
What underlying emotions and attitudes create cliques or cause divisions between groups of people?
"But I tell you, love your enemies…” - Jesus
This statement is one of the most difficult things that Jesus said. If we removed this from Scripture, this is not a concept that we would come up with on our own.
Asked our staff what I should not say...
· Just get over it
· Just forgive them
· Forgive and forget!
· It wasn’t personal
· Time heals all wounds
· Give it to God
Jeremiah 6:14 — 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
They are putting a bandaid on cancer and this is not good!
You have heard that it was said, But I tell you… (Matthew 5). Tradition has told you what it means to be a good person and follow God, but I (Jesus) am going to tell you what it really means. Those listening would have thought IMPOSSIBLE! The bar is too high and that is exactly what Jesus was doing.
Matthew 5:20 — 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
We confuse two things...
· Positional Righteousness (Jesus said that what matters more is who you are)
· Behavioral Righteousness (Pharisees thought what you do matters most)
If we misunderstand the two, then we misunderstand grace. Pharisees thought if you are good enough, then God will overlook your sin. No one is that good.
Are God and I good?
If you misunderstand, then you will always feel less than and you will become a legalist. Positional righteousness means that I have surrendered my life to God and God sees me as righteousness, so I am righteous. If you hear Jesus words as judging or that you don’t measure up, then you have misunderstood the two.
You never have to wonder where you stand with someone who gave his life for you!
We don’t love our enemies to impress God, we do it because we are followers of Jesus. If he hadn’t said it, then I wouldn’t do it. If you don’t follow Jesus, then don’t do it…it is to hard and you don’t have the power to do it.
Jesus knows something about this. Jesus knows something about loving those who hurt you. As Jesus was being persecuted he said “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” He has the moral authority to ask this of us.
You may see things, but see them wrong and you need the eyes of your heart enlightened. There is a power that you have in Jesus that you need to live out the words of Jesus. It is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! What you may think is impossible might not be impossible with Jesus. Maybe you don’t have to carry the hurt. Doesn’t mean it is easy, but it is possible.
How do I love my enemies
· Decide you will.
· Make a plan.
· Carry it out.
Helpful Resource: The Art of Forgiving - Louis B Smeeds
· Forgiving is a journey; the deeper the wound the longer the journey.
· Forgiving does not require us to reunite with the person that broke our trust
· Waiting for someone to repent before we forgive is to surrender our future to the person who wronged us.
What would be your next step?
· Surrender you life to God?
· Decide you will?
· Make a plan?
· Carry it out?
Talk about it:
· How did Jesus say we ought to treat our enemies? (v. 44)
· How does God treat evil and good people? (v. 45)
· Who has set an example for us? How? (v. 48)
· How would you paraphrase Matthew 5:43-48 in your own words?
· Where and when do you find it most difficult to live these words of Jesus?
· Is there anything that helps you to love your enemies and treat them differently?
· What would have to happen in your heart in order for you to be able to pray for an enemy?
· Of the three practical things that Phil mentioned, which do you need to practice or intergrate into your life?
o Decide you will (love your enemies).
o Make a plan.
o Carry it out.
· What are some specific ways you can show love today to someone whom you dislike?
· For which of your “enemies” will you pray for this week?