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Summary: Some people refuse to love their enemies because it shows they have standards, that they respect themselves, that they reject bad behavior. It makes them feel God-like. But Jesus said that being "God-like" means loving our enemies. How do we do that?

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OPENING:

There once were 2 cats from Kilkenny

Each thought there was one cat too many

They fought and they spit,

They clawed and they bit.

Till instead of two cats … there weren't any.

APPLY: Hatred is an interesting topic.

As Christians, we are taught that hatred is not a good thing. We are NOT to hate.

But in the days of Jesus one of the common sayings of the day was “Hate those who hate you.”

In fact, they could point to what seemed to be a Biblical foundation to that concept:

Ps 139:21-22 says “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.”

In addition… there seems to be some logical reasons to hate others.

ILLUS: In the April 2010 edition of Readers Digest, a man named Bob Brody wrote this:

“I've discovered that nothing feels quite as satisfying as a grudge well nursed. I had a boss who took a dislike to me from my first day on the job, even though she'd hired me. There were no complaints about my performance, but I later learned she'd lied to co-workers about me. Without explana¬tion, she laid me off after only ten weeks, just before Thanksgiving. I had a family to support.

Was I to forgive her? Should I now? Give me one good reason.

My grudge against her, balanced out that injustice, somehow righted the universe.

It has kept me warm on many a cold night.

A long-standing grudge suggests that we hold certain standards, that we respect ourselves enough to reject bad behavior. Failure to for¬give can be just as righteous, just as honorable, as forgiveness itself.”

So, there are people who feel justified in hating their enemies/ in refusing to forgive because:

• It shows they have “standards”

• It shows they respect themselves

• It shows they refuse to accept “bad behavior”

They believe that hating their enemies makes them righteous, honorable.

Even Godlike.

And that was the mindset of the religious community in the days of Jesus.

Love your neighbors and hate your enemies (they taught) and you’ll be like God.

Then along comes Jesus and He says – “Wait A Minute… that’s not true.”

Jesus said: “I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44

But that doesn’t make any sense.

Why would I want to love my enemies… they’re my enemies for a reason.

They’ve hurt me, lied about me, betrayed me.

If I could love them… they wouldn’t be my enemies now would they???

But Jesus says: love your enemies.

(PAUSE) Now, why would I want to do that?

Well, someone listed 3 reasons why we should love our enemies:

1. It’s cheaper than getting a lawyer.

2. It decreases the likelihood you’ll end up being a guest on a Jerry Springer show.

3. BUT – most importantly - Jesus said so.

Jesus said I should love my enemies.

It doesn’t have to make sense.

All I have to know is that this is what He wants.


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Talk about it...

Danny Brightwell

commented on May 27, 2015

Great lesson. I always enjoy reading your sermons. Thank you so much for sharing.

James Bonser

commented on Apr 9, 2016

Thank you very much for sharing this message. I was blessed very much as I read it especially the illustration of the Sunday School teacher with the dartboard object lesson.

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