Bless your enemies. Except “bless” means something more than just be nice or even help them. “Bless” means to ask for God’s divine favor to come on them.
We all want blessings, but we are being called to ask for God’s blessings for those who make our lives difficult, miserable, or (in some extreme cases) seek to kill us. This is a high bar of expectation. It’s a hard high bar of expectation.
In many respects, this may be the hardest teaching of Jesus. To assuage our own feelings of anger, betrayal, and trespass, we want vengeance! We want victory! We want justice!
“For [the Most High] is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.” (Luke 5:35)
“That is foolish,” proclaims the world. The world is right, from the world’s perspective. From God’s perspective, however, foolish is following the world.
Paul declared himself a disgraced spectacle that the world spat upon. Yet, Paul was determined to carry on. He chose a path to bless others and to be gracious to others.
This world could use a lot more of this, don’t you think?
However, the problem is that we want others to do it first. This isn’t the path that Jesus set out.
The world has taught us that a win-win scenario is false. Or to put it another way, that life is a zero-sum game. The world is correct. It is their math that this the problem.
The world’s math does not include God. The world’s math does not include Jesus (unless he can be used to make money). The world’s math is incapable of including the Holy Spirit.
So, why, as believers…as children of God…do we assume the world’s math is correct?
Yet, we do. We say #itrustGod and live as if the world’s math is correct.
What has also become increasingly clear is that the church has long been dressed-up in the world. Now the world is handing us filthy rags to wear, and we are offended. We took the nice clothes from the world already, if the world is done with us, why would they want to give us nice things?
So, what are we to do with the rags of the world? Realize they are the rags of a world that is passing away. We still have our “clothing of white”. Even in its “not yet” state (i.e., we don’t have it yet), it is still better than the finest clothes of the world.
Father God, help us to look at the world as you do…a place that is passing away. Help us recall where we are called to live eternally and to look at the world through your eternal eyes. Amen.
1) What is something that you need to surrender to the world?
2) What is something that you need to surrender to God?
3) How are these two things the opposite side of the same coin?