May 31, 2020
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
I guess by now you have all heard about the rioting that I going on around the country over the death of a man at the hands of the police, and many people are watching this and either cheering it on or condemning it. Regardless of which side of this a person falls on there is one commonality between the two sides, and that is Hate.
It’s sad that we already live in a world and an environment where hate already exist but even more sad is the fact that there are people out there where hate is being intentionally bred either to satisfy one’s own hate, or so that the person breading and fueling that hate can somehow profit from its existence.
When we look at the world around us especially when we look at what is happening today, it’s easy for people who fall on both sides of this issue to fall into the devils snare called hate, it’s easy for love to become nonexistent, it’s easy for mercy to become a Fairy tale, it’s easy for compassion to become something that only talked about in the context of a joke, yet as Christians it is important that not only do these words exist in our reality but that they exist in our actions as well.
I want to make something clear to all of you, I am not sure why God has made us look so different than each other, I am not sure why in His wisdom he has created different races, why there are Black people, Asian people, why there are Middle Eastern people and White people but what I do know is that in His wisdom he not only made it so, but He made it period.
I want to bring you all the way back to the beginning all the way back to the Book of Genesis Chapter 9 Verse 6 it says “Whoever sheds mans blood, by man shall his blood for in the image of God He made man.”
Notice that it didn’t say Black man or Asian man or even white man, what it says is “for in the image of God he made MAN period. So if God made man in His image how can we as religious people hate any man because of his or her color or ethnicity because if we do, do you not realize that you are hating something that God has created? Yet this is exactly what is happening not only today but hundreds of years and thousands of years.
Now don’t get hung up on why God created people of different ethnicity because that is not what creates hate for others it’s just a convenience for hate to exist because there is hate even among those of the same ethnicity. I have seen and heard Black people who are lighter skinned hate on darker skin blacks because of their shade and vice versa, I have heard Asian people hate on other Asian people over the amount of curve to their eyes, I have heard white people hate on white people because of the color of their hair or the amount of freckles that they have, you see the Devil uses not only the obvious but the slightest differences in order to justify the need for hate just BECAUSE God created it.
Society says one minute it’s not alright to hate, yet out of the other side of its mouth it says it’s okay to hate you because of….(fill in the blank)…Yet God says there is never a reason to hate a person. Verse one of the opening scripture says “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”.
Imagine what today would look like if people’s reaction to the death of this man was LOVE instead of Hate?
What if there was mercy instead of the hate and violence that we see today?
But because so many people desire evil over Good there are more victims than just George Floyd, there are at least 4 more people dead and many others wounded, there are people whose lives have been destroyed because everything they had was tied up in their business which has been burned down or looted, there are those who have lost their jobs because the place they worked at has either been destroyed or made unfit or unsafe to work at and that job was the only way they could take care of themselves and their families.
People may say that this is because of an evil that was done, but when is evil ever an acceptable response to an evil that has been done?
Both 1 Peter 3:9 and Romans 12:17 say the very same thing “Do not repay evil for evil”
( 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing”.
Romans 12:17 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone”.)
Today there will be people who call themselves Reverends or Pastors who will be calling for something other than what is being called for in our opening scripture, or they will in some way be justifying the actions of the rioters and looters and while we may feel our own hate welling up for them as well as those we see committing these crimes, we too must yield to the word of God and deny Satan a foothold in our own heart.
After all what if God did as we do, because who has suffered more wrong at the hands of man than God Himself and yet in the opening scripture it says “For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
It is easy to hate, it’s harder to love. It may be easy for us to love those we know, those that are in our families those that we call friends, but it’s harder to love those whom we don’t know and even harder still to love those who have wronged us and even those who have declared a hatred for us.
But why does God call us to love others, why does he call on us to love and show mercy to those who not only have wronged us but those who hate us, what harm is there in hating someone who does evil especially if we keep that hatred inside us and don’t act on it, what is the benefit for us in doing so?
Well the answer to that is also in our opening scripture, it says “and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.”
Is the hatred you feel for those who have wronged you worth the price of Not being a son or daughter of the most High and the rewards that you would have received from God?
I’ll go one better, are the actions of people who do evil that doesn’t in anyway affect you worth you NOT being considered a Child of the most High?
There is a reason that Jesus said “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” John 14:9
As a Christian, no man or woman’s actions are worth you losing your Godliness over, yes it’s easy to want “payback” yes it’s easy to want to hate the person that you see doing evil, but just remember that Hating is an evil too and even though your hate may be concealed from everyone else it is not concealed from God from whom it really counts.
Hate glorifies Satan, Love glorifies God, ask yourself in those moments when the temptation to hate comes your way whom is it that you seek to glorify and then you will know whose child you really are.
The scripture following the opening scripture is the one where Jesus is telling us not to judge, it is one of the most incorrectly used scriptures that has ever left the mouth of man, it says
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
What Jesus was saying had to do with judging the being of a person, judging their heart, who they really were, this is put into context later on in the scripture when He talks about the blind leading the blind and removing the plank from your eye before removing the speck from your brothers.
It is one thing to judge a person and totally another to judge the actions of that person, judging the actions of that person is how we direct them out of sin and towards God, Judging our OWN actions is how we examine whether or not we are truly in the faith, something I have spoken of before from this pulpit, just be very careful about judging those that we see doing evil so that you in your blindness fall into the ditch of false piety.
Jesus words as he hung on the cross were
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do”
Instead when we are tempted to hate and to judge, ask yourself, “if these people really knew there was a God and that they would be judged for what they were doing would they be doing it?” I can almost assure you that if they REALLY believed and knew there was a God no one would do wrong intentionally. Because the fear of His judgment is an eternal judgment unlike man’s judgment which like this world is temporary.
What I hope you get from today’s message is that we must all be careful of not hating, that we must all be careful of who we judge and how we judge, that Love and Mercy overcome Hate and Vengeance and in order for us to be called a Child of God this is not optional.
What if those out there doing violence and spewing hate, instead showed Loved, Mercy and forgiveness, what if they instead of hating people instead prayed for people.
There is always going to be a reaction to evil in this world, wouldn’t it be nice if it were always a Godly reaction?