Mathew 5: 48 (Message Bible)
Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. I looked up the scripture reference for my devotional in the Message Bible and it gives the familiar passage an updated, fresh twist. Listen with an open heart.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, “Love your friend,” and its unwritten companion, “Hate your enemy.” I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you” (43-48).
How can you apply this message in your life? Go ahead and express your love and give cards to your family and friends. Then give a valentine to your cranky neighbor. How might that relationship change? Did you ever consider that there might be a sad or lonely interior beneath that angry expression? And what about that irritable co-worker? Could you bring her a valentine with a Starbuck’s gift card tucked inside? And perhaps, the best valentine you could offer is forgiveness to one who has hurt you. Reach out and mend that relationship! God offers grace and mercy to us and surely we don’t deserve it. Let’s grow up and be our best God-created selves.
Affirmation: I will extend love to all: the nice and the nasty.
I love you bunches,