Loving People When They Don't Love Me Back
I was reading my Bible this morning. Good thing to do, right? I'm using Wayne Cordeiro's Bible reading plan of reading through the OT once and the NT twice in one year. Anyway, came into Matthew 5 today as Jesus taught His listeners in verse 45, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven..." This verse was a great reminder for what I continually need to practice.
Over the last couple of years since I started a church, I've had a number of people in the church hurt me. Not physically of course. Sometimes I wish it was physical rather than emotional. Physical scars heal. The other kind take much longer. As a Pastor, I love the people God has entrusted me to shepherd and disciple. Sometimes, I've had some sheep bite me. Then, they go find another pen to graze in. It hurts; really hurts! But, Jesus calls me to love and pray for those who for one reason or another just don't like me or the way I go about ministry anymore. Now I could pray God would strike them with leprosy, but I guess that would negate the whole love thing. Seriously, I have a list of people in my prayer journal I pray for that have hurt me in some way. God does an amazing thing when I do that. He changes my heart toward them. It also shows the Lord that when I actually obey this command He is truly Lord of my life.
I'm not always perfect in this arena but God is doing a work in me so that He can do a work through me. I want to be all that I can be in Christ living to glorify God in all that I do. That means loving people when they don't love me back.