Sunday, 24 February 2013

Love your enemies: Luke 6: 27 - 35

'Forgiveness' has been one of my words for this year. ('Grace' is, obviously, another. Can't have forgiveness without huge heaps of grace.)
So we talked about it at breakfast yesterday.  This was my summary of all the wise advice that has been floating around this week:

Go to Him and pray for a heart that forgives
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Be kinder than you feel..
Be generous with grace, faith and love.
Pray for blessing

Power verses:
Proverbs 17:9 NIV
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
Luke 6:27 – 28, 35 - 36
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you ...
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Romans 12:20,21
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

We talked about forgiving 'big' things, about who our 'enemies' are - how difficult that is, to use such a strong word. We talked about how it is sometimes easier to forgive a stranger than a friend, whose words hurt more; about forgiving attacks which are more personal...we talked of grace, and kindness, and love which covers over many an offense. We talked of courage to deal with 'stuff' kindly.

We moved on to a single verse which we studied this week: Luke 6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

We need to 'pray for those who cut us off in traffic, for those who have said unkind words, for those who left and didn’t come back, and for those who couldn’t keep their promises.'

Bible Gateway's devotional for Lent suggested this prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, who commanded us to love our enemies and all those who insult and hurt us, and to pray for them and forgive them; you yourself prayed for your enemies, who crucified you. Give us, we pray, a spirit of Christian reconciliation and meekness, so that we may forgive every injury and be reconciled with our enemies. Grant us Christian meekness and true love of our neighbor. Give to our enemies true peace and forgiveness of sins; and do not allow them to leave this life without true faith and sincere conversion. Help us to repay evil with goodness. — adapted from the Orthodox "Prayer for Enemies"

Forgiveness is an integral part of the Easter story. Who in my life needs to be forgiven today? Who do I need to ask for forgiveness? This week, can I consider extending the hand of forgiveness to somebody who needs it?

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