TODAY'S WORD 4U 2DAY
YOU’RE AN EXAMPLE OF CHRIST: REPRESENT (5)1 Timothy 4:12
In New Testament times the religious people would often look down on the non-religious, thinking they were beneath them. In fact, they often called them ‘dogs’. You might have heard something like this kind of talk before: ‘Why would I want anything to do with that dog?’
It’s upsetting to be treated like this, and that’s how Jesus’ disciples felt when they were turned away from a Samaritan village just for being Jewish. As Jesus’ nearest and dearest, you might have expected them to respond with humility and forgiveness. Not quite – the story in Luke 9 records the disciples asking Jesus for a vengeful jet of fire from heaven!
But Jesus fired this back at his disciples: ‘You do not know what … spirit you are of’ (Luke 9:54,55 NKJ). They thought that they were doing something that God would have wanted, or at least asking for something that would please Him. But they weren’t, Jesus told them, and they were missing the mark big time. So we too should take a closer look at how we respond to people. Do we want immediate vengeance if we’re insulted? Are we really responding with God’s Spirit? God’s Spirit is one of unbroken forgiveness, unusual kindness, and wide, wide mercy. It always focuses on the good of others. And it has the bigger picture in mind, too: Jesus said, ‘Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven’ (Luke 6:22,23 NKJ).
It’s difficult to instantly start loving your enemies. Start by including them in your prayers for a while. See if that changes your attitude to them when you meet and talk to them. (You could also read 1 Peter 3: 9–12, particularly looking out for what happens when you try and right a wrong with a wrong.)