This last Sunday, we continued in our series “Having a Beatitude Attitude,” and we focused on Matthew 5:9 which says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” I have long since stopped thinking that these things happen by coincidence. Time after time I have witnessed God stressing the right thing at the right time through His servants of which I am humbled to be. I believe that He knew it was something we were going to need to hear after all we have witnessed in our nation the last couple of days.
We see all the hate and anger displayed on our television sets and we wonder how such things can happen. Here we had an opportunity with peaceful protest to send a message the world needs to hear and it is highjacked by the hate and anger that overshadowed it. Where does this kind of vitriol come from? What is going through people’s minds that makes this kind of action ok in their eyes? What has happened to those parts of our society that are convinced that anything can be overcome by hating one another?
Just a little further down from where we got our last Beatitude, it says in verses 43- 48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” What He is saying here is that love is a much more powerful persuader than is hate. He is saying that we must follow His lead of love, forgiveness and patience if anything is to be accomplished.
Hate comes natural to us. It’s the easy out when we feel we have been wronged. But to love our enemies takes an inner strength that only God can provide. Imagine what would have happened had we approached this as Christ would have approached it. Yes, He would have been upset with the injustice that we were made witness to, but He would have channeled that energy through love to find a solution. The majority of those on the streets were of like mind, trying to make a difference through peaceful protest, but the devil could not have that so he inspired the godless to revolt. I say godless because their action betrayed any faith they might claim. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). “O you who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10).
This kind of hate we are witnessing serves no master but the evil one. They use social injustice and racism as an excuse for even more evil but only hurt the cause. They think hate can overcome these things when only love has the power to make a change. It breaks my heart so I can only imagine what it is doing to God’s heart. As we move further away from Him, we only have ourselves to count on and we leave ourselves vulnerable to the evil within us. We who rely on God see it as common sense to love and not hate, but those who make themselves their own god are forced to follow their stronger instincts toward vengeance and anarchy. God waits with open arms but, far too often, they are left empty by those who think that the way of the world will save them.
So, we are called to love as God has loved us. Just as He was willing to sacrifice His only Son’s life for us so that we might be free from sin and death, we should be willing to sacrifice our bodies as instrument of His love so that others might turn from their hate to the God who is defined by love so that they too might be saved. Jesus says in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” It is now our turn, as Christians, to make a difference. With the Holy Spirit to inspire us, we can share God’s message of love even as we stand against injustice. With our mighty God at our side, we can do our part to overcome the hate that the world promotes. We can put to rest things like racism with the only power that can overcome anything, the power of love. Play your part to bring the kingdom of God to a hurting world. Stand up for what is right, but do so with affection towards all people, even those who resist your message. We can wait no longer. Too much time has passed. The world needs to know what God is instilling in our hearts. Together we can be part of the solution, but it will take all the strength we can muster and all the love we can give. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, there is so much hurting and anger in this world because we have drifted away from love and the one who created love. Help us to mend our ways and then inspire us through Your Holy Spirit to acts of love that can overcome hate. Make us instruments of your mercy, soldiers of your love and catalysts of Your grace. Give us the courage to make a kingdom difference in a world that yearns for You even if they don’t know that it is you that can give them the answers they seek. Thank you for all you have done to save us from ourselves and forgive us when we have become blind to Your guidance. Amen.