Devotion for Friday, April 12, 2024

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’” (Matthew 5:43).

Does the world not operate this way?  Hate is often the order of the day.  Sure, we love our families, but we are fed all day long on the rivalries of this world.  Schools have rivals.  Politics have rivals.  We are asked to have loyalty for store chains, brands, and all kinds of other things.  That is the worldly practice.  Jesus introduced us to living differently and not living with hate as something that motivates us.

Lord, You know where and when my heart instantly hates.  You know those places where, despite what You have said, I am riddled with bigotry and prejudice.  Lift me up, Lord, so that I see, as I look into anyone’s eyes, a precious one for whom You died.  That does not mean we have to have fond affection for everyone.  We don’t and we won’t.  But it does mean recognizing the humanity and reality of all of us being created in our Lord’s image.

Lord Jesus, all humans have been created in Your image.  You are going to make of all who believe, those conformed to You, something new.  Where I encounter hatred, lead me to learn how to have charity.  Where I have poison in me from this world, remove it and help me to live into the life of love for which You have called me.  Guide me this day, my Savior, in all that I do so that I may walk humbly with You in all things.  Amen.