I know that I have mentioned our church to you in the past, we are a large family of believers and our head pastor is actually simulcast each week to all of the campus'. Jerry is known for his dynamic preaching style but I fully believe that it's not the man that has one so many hearts, rather it's the Lord working through him.
The current sermon series has been on some of the shocking statements of Jesus. The first week we talked about the reality of if your hand caused you to stumble or your eye you are supposed to chop it off or gouge it out. The point being that sin has many ways to creep into out lives and often if we watch out for the 7 or 8 E's (I can't remember) We can stop it cold in it's tracks. This week however hit a little more close to home. In Matthew 5 Jesus set us straight. He pointed out how we have taken scripture and filled in some places that didn't need filled in. We are instructed to love our neighbors but how often do we rationalize that we are ok to hate our enemies? We were never told to do that. Then to top it off, Jesus says that guess what?! Every one is our Neighbor! Say What?!? I'm supposed to love EVERYONE? Even the ones that have hurt and harmed me? Jesus says yes everyone is our neighbor, we are instructed to love in such a way that we can forgive even those that have committed even the worst against us. This is not to say that we have to allow them back in our lives and our hearts but we do have to forgive.
Yes, even those that may view us as enemies, that is between them and Christ. As for us are our hearts in the place to love even the most unloveable? This has brought me to my knees this week. You know that God is speaking IN ALL CAPS to you, when all week every time you turn around there it is smack in the face yet another chance to live out. Yikes! Not to mention two new songs on the radio that confirm that I am not the only one that struggles with this.
One of them is Tenth Avenue North's song Losing.
"Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losing"
The other one is by Matthew West and it's so new I can't even find an audio clip. The lyrics just nail it for me.
It always goes to those that don't deserve
It's the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just to real
It takes everything you have just to say the word...
It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It's always anger's own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It's the whisper in your ear saying 'Set It Free'
Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible"