Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 5:43-48.

Consider the statement that Jesus begins with: “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” In previous passages, Jesus quotes the Old Testament scriptures and follows it up with a correct interpretation of them. However, nowhere in God’s Law does he command Israel to hate anyone. This would contradict Jesus’ summary of the Law: “love the Lord your God” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). So, what is Jesus talking about here? Well, the phrase “You have heard” simply implies that someone has been teaching this as an interpretation of God’s Law. But, as always, Jesus is here to set everything straight.

Unlike the last passage, Jesus isn’t simply talking about someone that has wronged you once that you now have the desire to retaliate against. He’s talking about your enemies. I’m sure that when he uses this word, many names come to mind for the Jews. They’ve been to war with almost every nation around them, and they’re currently being occupied by the Romans. And Jesus has the audacity to say that the Jews should love these people? Yep. And he explains why. God doesn’t only bless those who choose to love Him back. Those outside of His people can enjoy His creation, His Earth. They can enjoy love, laughter, and relationships. They won’t experience these things in full without a relationship with God Himself, but that doesn’t stop Him from choosing to love them. What is Jesus’ deduction? That shouldn’t stop us from loving them either, enemy or not.

He goes on to compare the Jews to those who they would consider evil, like tax collectors or Gentiles, and says that even they love those that love them back. Jesus is calling Jews to do exactly what God’s Law intended for them, to stand apart from the rest of the world. We are called to do the same. Just like in the previous passage, Jesus isn’t just telling us to resist. He wants us to recover and then take a step toward those that don’t deserve it with the intention of showing love. Why should we? Why does it have to be us? Because we don’t deserve the love that he showed us on the cross. But he went anyway. He died anyway. So, we can love those that are the most difficult to love. Because he does!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. Who is someone in your life that is difficult to love?

  1. Sometimes choosing love can be extremely difficult, especially if it is towards someone who has hurt you (your enemy). Thank God that we don’t have to conjure up this love on our own. It is a fruit of the Spirit that we can pour out freely because He lives inside of us. According to John 4:19, how can we choose to love others? What does it look like to love like Jesus?
  2.  How can you choose to love the person in your life that is difficult to love? What will you have to put aside in order to do so?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Pray that God would help you to love people that are hard to love. Ask Him to help you let go of the things you need to in order to love like Jesus. Pray that God would be glorified in all of your relationships and that His love would be made evident through your life.

Song: Reckless Love- Cory Asbury

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w
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