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Focus Verses: Matthew 5:43-48
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your
enemy.' 44 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. He causes his sun to
rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the
unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you
get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet
only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even
pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is
is imperfect and incomplete if it is only given to those who respond
with love. Love is made complete when it is given to those who are
undeserving, unresponsive, and perhaps even unrighteous. That is the way
Response and Action:
Jesus calls me to love my enemies and to pray for those who persecute me. The reason for doing this is not necessarily because they will be responsive to me, but rather because I
am being responsive to God. I am guided by the example of Christ's
love. If I am a child of God, I must love as the Father loves.
God, help me to turn away from what is wrong and do what is right.
Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And
help me to love my neighbor as myself. Lead me away from temptation and
deliver me from evil. Provide for my needs today. Protect me from
discouragement and encourage me by your Spirit through your word, your
people, your promises, and all that is beautiful and true. Help me to
do the good things you've prepared in advance for me to do. Help me to
faithful, fruitful, and effective as your servant, as a spouse, parent,
child, sibling, friend, neighbor, co-worker, stranger, and enemy.
Through Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Mark 12:28-31
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing
that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the
commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important
one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the
Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all
your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The
second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no
commandment greater than these."
The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others
by Scot McKnight