Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48
Observation: Do the hard stuff because it will be what no one else would do.
Application: The story of Jonah can apply to this passage. God commands us to love our enemies. Love the people we can't stand. Love the sinners...and we are all sinners...and pray for those who intend to hurt us. Hmmmm....that doesn't sound like something that is easy to do. And. It. Isn't.
When Jonah was called to Nineveh, he was called to the city of sinners. Nineveh was evil to its core. Jonah literally wanted nothing to do with this city. He bought a ticket in the opposite direction to get away from loving his enemy. Of course, Jonah learned the hard way that we can never out run God and ended up getting a crash course in God's "time out chair" to reflect, repent, and receive God's mercy and forgiveness.
Unfortunately, Jonah still doesn't fully comprehend God's message when Jonah's message is not only heard but received by the people of Nineveh. When they reflect, repent, and receive God's mercy and forgiveness Jonah is furious. They become even more detestable in Jonah's eyes and Jonah wishes he could die instead of living with the knowledge that they have been saved despite living their evil ways in the past. Jonah can't even see that the Ninavites are just like him....sinners who have been redeemed.
It's easy to love the people you like. It's downright difficult to love the people you don't and people don't usually do it. However, when they do, God can use their love to draw them closer to Him. When we love as Christ loves it stands out. It makes people wonder why. What am I doing to make people wonder why?
Prayer: Lord, you are the God of love. You have demonstrated perfect love to us. We constantly fall short of your perfection. Thank you for your abundant love and mercy. Help us to model those same things when we are interacting with others. Give us ability to love like you do so that others may wonder why. Amen.