Love. Bless. Do Good. Pray.

Love. Bless. Do Good. Pray.

Written by Julie Tsoukalas

Matthew 5 is the chapter where Jesus begins the sermon on the mount. It is a famous portion of scripture featuring the beatitudes. These are general statements about groups of people who will be blessed, and why.

You can go read them now, I’ll wait. Really, I don’t mind.

In case the people wondered if Jesus was speaking to them specifically, as he continues he addresses the crowd as ‘you’. He goes on to tell them they are the salt of the earth, and they need to stay salty, otherwise what’s the point? He tells them they are the light of the world (because they have the truth about Jesus), and that a city on a hill can’t be hid.

He’s encouraging them to let their light shine so people will see their good works and glorify God. He wants them to live out their faith, even though they will be persecuted for it. Jesus takes things a step further as we continue in this chapter, making it  clear that He isn’t come to maintain the status quo.

He’s here to change everything.

He gives them instructions by saying several times: You have heard it said …but I say .

The scripture I will focus on is verses 43-44.

Matthew 5:43-44
(43) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
(44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

We’re given specific instruction here on how to treat our enemies. (Enemies are hateful, odious, actively hostile people, by the way.)

Love. Bless. Do good. Pray.

Jesus makes a distinction by calling out the publicans, saying they love the people who love them, and welcome only their friends, but calls His followers to love and welcome all people, even their enemies.

If we look at what Jesus told the people to perform toward their enemies, we see it is not easy stuff.

Love- Agape love like God has toward us.
Bless- Speak well of, praise
Do good- Do honestly, well
Pray- Supplicate, pray to God

These things are not our natural inclination. In fact, our flesh wants to do just the opposite, especially if someone has hurt us.

Maybe your enemy is in your own household. Love. Bless. Do good. Pray.

Or maybe your enemy is at your workplace. Love. Bless. Do good. Pray.

Wherever you find an enemy, you are called to follow the example of Jesus. Self-denial and suffering are marks of a follower of Christ. And while it can be difficult to love and serve people who are actively against you, it honors the Lord. They can see your good works and glorify God for them. Don’t give in to the urge to repay, gossip, slander, hurt.

Pray that God will give you strength to love, and pray for them to see Jesus in you.

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