Speak Truth in Love

We know that we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and that is a good reminder about our responsibility to choose to love others to begin with. A heart filled with the choice to love is not an emotion that comes out of a person, but rather a choice that someone makes because of their love of Christ. It was Jesus telling the crowds: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mathew 5: 43-48 The command to “love” our enemies is not the act of emotion, for we could never love an enemy emotionally. But the command is to make a choice to love them with the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus. And if we have the love of Christ in us, we can make that choice. We can then truthfully pray for those who persecute us because of the choice to act with the will for those who hate us. We have been through a lot of hate this past year with the division that is occuring in the United States. This has caused many of us to take a side and take a stand. This stand is a stand of hate for those we perceive as evil, and our enemy. But what if we started to pray for those who we feel are enemies of the state? What if everytime we are put down, either for our faith or our politics, we start praying for that one, or those groups? But instead we have become a nation of division, one of hatred for one another. And we call that righteous. But would Jesus condone such a behavior? Would He not command us to do exactly as He already told us: To love those who hate us and persecute us. That will never come if we wait for the emotion of love to enter us. But choices are made everyday. We choose to get up in the morning and go to work. Nobody makes us do it. We also choose to make that work something bearable or not, all by choice. We choose what to eat each day, and are not forced to eat what someone else tells us to eat. We wear what we want to wear by choice. We choose to stay with our spouses because of choice, and we choose to love them, by choice, the act of our will. But many claim that they have fallen out of love. No, they made the choice to love no more. Let’s call it what it is. Choices! We either obey our Lord, or we obey that which controls us – our own intellect and flesh, and those things that make us “feel” better. Don’t you think it’s time we started to get back to the first love we had in Christ and start to be more like Him, who CHOSE us, and loves us by His own will. We can certainly choose to do the same. Pastor Andy

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