Twenty-one is a reading plan we created with the hope that it will help you connect with God and prepare your heart for Easter. We’re glad you’ve opted to join us on this journey and look forward to celebrating Easter with you!
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Here is a word from Matthew, a follower of Jesus, who claimed that Jesus said this:
“Love your enemies. And pray for those who persecute you”
— Matthew 5:44
That might be the worst verse in the entire Bible, other than the ones that say to do things without complaining. Those stink too.
But love my enemies?
No way! How can that be the thing to do?
Here is the secret . . .
Hatred always hurts you.
You can point the weapon of hatred at the target of your enemies, but it always misses the mark.
It never takes them out.
Hatred takes out the hater, not the hated.
Hatred is a terrible weapon.
Love is a much better weapon.
You’ve heard, “Kill ‘em with kindness.”
There is a reason for this.
When we follow Christ, we do what he did. Following him is just watching his every move and trusting him enough to copy his moves with our lives. And what did he do? He loved his enemies. Who were his enemies? Well . . . all of us. We all choose to disobey and rebel and do what opposes God’s perfection.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
You know that verse. We know what is right and we do the opposite anyway. That makes us enemies of God . . . enemies of Jesus. So what did Jesus do to his enemies? Hate them? Nope. Instead of hating his enemies, he loved them. He died for us and prayed for us. As he was being mocked by men while hanging on the cross, he even prayed a prayer. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”
Your enemies probably don’t know what they are doing either. But you do. You know that hating them will only hurt you. And why would you let them hurt you as your enemy and then turn around and hurt yourself too? That’s double hurt. Hating our enemies doubles the hurt to us. So don’t do that. Do the unexpected. Love them.
In so doing, you will tell bitterness and hatred that it has no place in your life. It does not get to grow in you.
I’m sure you’re right.
I’m sure your haters are wrong.
I’m sure you have every reason to hate that person.
They hurt you.
They were wrong.
They were evil.
They deserve the worst.
But you don’t. You deserve the best.
So love your enemies to keep hatred from bouncing back in your direction.
So do it. We dare you. Pray for someone today who feels like an enemy. See what happens in you.