Friday, November 9, 2012

Nov | 09 | Of True Love & Hateful Halitosis

Key Word:- TRUST

Title:- Of True Love & Hateful Halitosis

Luke 6:27-29 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”

If there was one verse I was permitted to remove from the Bible then it would be this one. As a man, this verse bothers me greatly. I look at the four ‘hot words’ so providentially, provocatively and purposefully placed here that they move into my heart like a sharp and slow, painfully pushed dagger. ‘Enemy,’ ‘hate,’ ‘curse’ and ‘spiteful.’ Love your enemies! You’ve got to be kidding me? For in my life, when I am so pierced by these four sharp and hot arrows, it makes me want to respond! Surely as a man, I must respond in protection and retaliation for such aggressive actions against my very being. Yes, this is a nasty verse for me and I tell you brethren, out of all four of these horrible words, it is the last one, and purposefully so me thinks, which is the most difficult for me and maybe for you, to deal with, for this word describes a close contact malevolence of the worst kind, which carries with it the bad breath of the devil himself. SPITEFUL! You can’t even say it without sounding like a serpent and spitting out poison! sssssSPITEFUL! Hear it?

Scanning a number of New Testament commentaries I am told that the word ‘spiteful’ and all its implications and applications, can be summed up as follows: ‘to insult and slander; to accuse falsely with implications of threats of abuse, coupled with the insulting disdain of one who considers themselves superior.’ Nasty boys, very nasty.

For me, the very unpacking of that word alone, causes every fibre of my being to rise up in self justifying protection, revenge and destruction; and friends, I don’t believe I am talking about the sinful part of my being either but the sensible part! However, what does Jesus say that our equational response to this fourfold attack of fiery words should be?

Hate=Do Good!

And all God’s people walking in transparent authenticity say: “You’ve got to be kidding Lord!” Unfortunately, He is not.

Maybe the understanding of the whole tenure of scripture will make this verse a little more palatable? So, if I were to sum up the Bible’s teaching on this matter then I wonder if the Scriptures as a whole tell us that: ‘If a nation or an individual, purposes harm against you, then it is the civil and judicial responsibility of that government to protect you and punish them, for they do not wield the sword in vain. If they fail to do this, then that government is bankrupt before God. If however, you are individually attacked in this way, you must be like your Father in heaven, who seeks to do good to those who hate Him.’ There, that's helpful isn't it? Nope! Not really, it hasn't helped me a bit, for you can't rely on the government to help you nowadays and they certainly wont have an armed body guard available just for me twenty four hours a day. No sir a man nowadays needs some muscle, needs some swift retort, needs to look hard, needs to wear a stony countenance, needs to take no nonsense from anyone, yes sir a man today needs a gun! Lord what are You thinking when dealing in such word equations, for they are not easy, they are not sweet to me O Lord but taste so incredulously bitter, that they are almost unpalatable and that's the truth. Lord! Just what are You thinking?
Friends, I think this is as far as I can go with this verse. Except to say, that it is a command and not an instruction. It’s as far as I can personally go with this verse, except to say that Jesus says such responses to hot blades glorifies the Father. It’s as far as I can personally go with this verse, except to say that there is great reward from heaven that accompanies such selfless and seemingly stupid responses. It’s as far as I can personally go with this verse, except to say that obeying it’s commands, makes us Godlike!

Of course, more than anything, the kind of required response Jesus wants from our obedience in these matters is that which humbles us and maybe changes us, in ways we can never dream of, in ways that could be achieved by no other means than this! “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” May God help us in this, and give us courage and wisdom.

Listen:- But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: Hebrews 10:32-36

Pray: - Lord, I confess that I cannot live like this. It is beyond me, it is not naturally in me. So grant me insight, wisdom, grace, and humility that I may respond in obedience to those hot dark daggers often thrust into my soul. Only Lord, please be sure to be gentle in Your lessons regarding this great request of mine, in Jesus name I pray, amen.

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