Follow the Father

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” –Matthew 5:43-45, NIV

A friend was venting yesterday about some abusive comments she received because of a post that offended a reader. Like many of us, she was frustrated by the double-standard so often practiced by those who hate God. They can say what they want and expect to be tolerated, but believers can’t stand up for Truth without being accused of being intolerant. It IS aggravating!

As I read this morning’s verses, I thought about how God must feel to be so maligned. It must be aggravating for Him too! We should be grateful that He holds back the worst of the consequences of man's rebellion against Him. He doesn’t respond in kind to the abuses of those who dismiss Him or openly oppose Him. He sends the sun and the rain (and everything else) in equal proportions to good men and to evil men. He doesn’t practice favouritism.

He calls us, as believers, to imitate Him. That’s hard to do. I am reminded of  the prayer of Francis of Assisi. It’s worth remembering and living.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Speak the Truth with love? Absolutely.

Be prepared for persecution because of that Truth? Absolutely.

Respond to our detractors as our Father would? Absolutely.

When we follow the Father, we can’t miss the path.


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