Message from the Valley Floor Matthew 5:43-48
There is an interesting ‘inclusio’ in our text for Sunday. Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes, ending with ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God and blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of God.”
At the end of chapter 5, the climax of the beatitudes comes to a crescendo with Jesus words, “…love your enemies and pray for those who who persecute you, that your may be children of your Father in heaven.”
This teaching of Jesus to ‘love our enemies’ can be looked at as the ‘cherry on top’ or as the ‘valley floor’. Its hard to know which because it embodies the core Gospel message while at the same time issuing the most challenging of Jesus teachings.
Why am I to love my foe? Jesus gives us clues… he ends this passage with saying, “Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In other words, love as God loves. He supports this by saying that ‘God sends rain and sunshine on all people.’
How are we to love our foes? Well… first of all – its tough. We can’t do it – only with God living in and through us is it possible. Some things we can do… take a good look at ourselves, realize that hate distorts the hater, discover something good about our foe, begin to turn down the heat on our hate (a journey), and never stop diving the depths of discerning and understanding and embodying the love of God.
Instead of justifying our hate, its time for change, to cut the cords of hate. See you Sunday,