Summary: Christ challenges us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

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Forgiving Our Enemies Matt 5:43-48

With the events of 11 Sep

- Came a lot of anguish and horror

- Then came anger and the desire to find the terrorists

- Who did this terrible thing

- These are normal human reactions

- And are something we all experience

- But we are called as Christians to be something more than normal

- We are called to a higher standard

- And that is the thing I have been struggling with

- For the last several weeks

- What are my responsibilities as a Christian

- Toward those who plotted, planned and executed these acts of terror?

- Against our country

- Killing thousands of innocent people?

Read What so Amazing About Grace

- Wiesenthal struggled to forgive a German soldier

- Who had done terrible things

- He struggled to grasp the overpowering images he saw

- In the man’s confession

- We too might be struggling with the overpowering and horrifying imagings of the past few weeks

- Wiesenthal could not bring himself to forgive the man

- And the man died in his guilt

- Reaching out to be forgiven

Christ challenges us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us

- Now I know He was not talking exactly about the present situation

- He was referring to those who persecute believers

- But the principle is still the same

- A good part of the reason we are being attacked

- Is because of our support of Israel

- There are faith issues involved

- But the real issue here is my response

- To those who did this

- How am I to respond to them as an individual and as a believer or follower of Christ?

- I think in my head we are to forgive

- And to love enough to pray for them

- But my heart has difficulty doing that

- The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak

- I know what He is asking me to do

- But it is hard to do it

All kinds of stuff- my years of serving this country as a soldier

- My concern for those lost and their families

- My desire for justice

- All that and much more

- Cry out for vengeance, not love and prayer

- Pray maybe- “Lord help us catch them”

- “Give us wisdom to do this right”

- But forgive, love?

- It is difficult, isn’t it?

You know Peter had the same problem

- He came to Jesus and asked an important question

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.


- Jesus told him seven wasn’t enough

- Peter thought seven was pretty generous, since the Jews thought three times was sufficient

- Peter was asking, “Just how far do I have to go in forgiving others?”

- Jesus answered, “As far as it takes to make it real.”

- “As far as God goes to forgive you”

Am I ready, can I forgive like that?

- Not in myself

- Not by myself

- My heart hurts and cries out when I try

- It has heard the cries of thousands

- Taken by death at the hands of these men

- It wants justice

- It wants to respond to the violence violently

Yet I know what God requires- 70 times 7

- He requires it of me

- Because He has forgiven me at least that many times

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