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