Man is it cold out there! I hope you’re staying warm. Let’s think of those who have no shelter and ask God to use us to change their situation as we have opportunity.
On Sunday, January 19, we had a message entitled Dig Down Deep. In it, we were challenged to pursue peace in the situations that we find ourselves in our normal flow of life – yes, even with the difficult people. I would say especially with the difficult people. If you weren’t able to be here and hear this message, I would challenge you to listen to it here.
We mentioned that our pursuing peace with difficult people is one of the things that separates us from our culture and world. Our culture and sinful nature will tell us that we should retaliate when we have some wrong done against us. Today, I want to challenge that thought process with the words of Jesus.
Read Luke 6:27-35
I want to highlight some key phrases in this passage as Jesus is challenging His followers to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world by pursuing peace with those who have done wrong against us. We must dig down deep for this to happen. It does not come natural for us which is why Jesus says…
“to those who are willing to listen” – not everyone is…are you?
“love your enemies…do good to those who hate you…bless those who curse you…pray for those who hurt you” – Are you still willing to listen? Some are not, but this is what Jesus says is one of the ways that we can show that Christ is in us.
“If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other also” – This is implying that what they do to you is going to hurt. It is not enough to pursue peace with those who have never hurt us. Anyone can do that.
“If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also” – This is where we are encouraged to shock them with our peace pursuit. We are generous with peace because God was generous in providing a way for peace between us and Him.
“do to others as you would like them to do to you.” – Jesus said this long before your momma!
Then Jesus moves to the punchline…
How does doing good to others who do good to us separate us from what a non-Christ follower would do? We are challenged to dig down deep and go BEYOND what the world would see as normal.
But why? Why would we do such a thing?
“then your reward from heaven will be very great” – Do you prefer to win the battle with the difficult person OR win the blessings that come from choosing God’s radical way?
“and you will be truly acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked (difficult people)” – When we DIG DOWN DEEP and pursue peace rather than digging in and retaliating, we are reflecting the heart of the merciful God and how he has responded to us.
How can we accept that grace and mercy and love and then turn around and not extend it to the people around us – especially the difficult people?
It’s time to DIG DOWN DEEP and pursue peace.
Romans 12:17 – “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”