The theme of selfless living is not a minor plot point in the life of Jesus. It is front and center in how Jesus lived (and died). It also takes center stage in his teaching. In arguably his most well-known teaching, The Sermon on the Mount, the challenge to love and serve people radically is clear. Jesus calls his followers to do more than the minimum of treating people with dignity – he calls them to love their enemies.
Pete Scazzero (author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality) says, “For Christians, the key distinguishing mark of spiritual maturity is how we love our enemies (i.e., those who have hurt or betrayed us, drive us crazy, or irritate us).” According to that measure, how mature are you?
Jesus says it this way in Matthew 5:43-48:
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Jesus reminds them (and us) that God gives generously and graciously to EVERYONE. This is part of how we reflect God to people – even the people who treat us unfairly.
Questions to consider:
Who is someone that I have a hard time showing love to?
What do you think about God’s willingness to bless all people, regardless of their response?
How do you imagine his reaction to people who ignore or scoff at him?
An action step to take:
Pray for someone who has hurt you. Ask God to help you see them through his eyes.
Consider blessing someone who has treated you wrongly this week.
Looking for a tangible way to serve others during 21 Days of Selfless Living? Head to www.wschurch.org/21days to find details about our upcoming serving day. Choose from several opportunities to serve our community with and through some of our local compassion partners.