44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? -Matthew 5:44-46 (KJV)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus placed before us the most overwhelming component of grace we can imagine; we are to love our enemies. This flies in the face of all human reason, for we naturally desire to love those who love us and hate those who hate us. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ compels us to cast off the chains of human reason and be indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Through faith in the Lord, we put on Christ like a protective garment against the hateful human attitudes of the world. Galatians 3:27 reminds us, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Having put on Christ, we then walk forward with a new heart, mind, attitude, and outlook.
Christ understood perfectly that the natural way for relating to those who have wronged, misused, or harmed us is to hate them. When Jesus instructed His followers to love their enemies, He was leading them toward spiritual freedom in Him. Hatred drags us down, smothers us with bitterness, and drains peace from us. Just as putting on Christ liberates, putting on hatred imprisons. Rather than walking forward in victory we end up stifled and held back by our hatred. Do not make the mistake of believing we can accomplish this spiritual principle on our own. We are unable to do so. However, the Holy Spirit provides spiritual power to do what we otherwise would have been unable to accomplish. This includes getting rid of hatred.
Anytime we realize we dislike someone, we do well to consider that our dislike can easily and quickly degenerate into full-blown hatred. We might begin to look for perceived slights or insults from the person when in reality none was ever intended. All the while, the devil is providing the fuel needed to create a blaze of hatred. There are also those who may have seriously wronged us. It is always easy to hate such persons. Understand, however, that hating others gives them a certain amount of control over us. Hatred will rob of us sleep, peace, joy, and will interrupt the pleasant pursuits we enjoy such as time with family or a good meal. Jesus Christ provides release from and victory over the insidious powers of hatred. We are then free to worship God, love others, and walk forward unfettered by the shackles of a hateful and vengeful spirit.
What is in your heart today? Are the uncomfortable weights of hatred and an unforgiving spirit filling your heart? On the other hand, are you free in Jesus to walk forward in love, joy, peace, and contentment? Allow Christ to fill you with His Spirit, for in Him there is freedom from the chains that bind us.
God bless you today.