February 24, 2019, WWJD – Guest preacher, Helen Harris

 

To listen to this sermon click here:  Z0000121

When we were young our parents taught us to always be kind to everyone that we meet. They also taught us the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Now some people have their own version of the golden rule in that they believe in doing unto others before they do it unto them.
That’s not a good thing.

We think about the golden rule, in the Gospel of Matthew and what Jesus taught us: (Matthew 22: 34) An expert of the law, tested him with a question. The lawyer asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
God has done great things for us, more than we even know. God loved the world, that is why he sent Jesus Christ his only son to die for us on Calvary. Our love, belief and faith for Jesus, describes how we thank God.
John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him should not perish but will have eternal life.”
God sent his son to a place where he knew he would be rejected, mocked and beaten. He then had to stand back and watch all this taking place when he could have destroyed everyone. Jesus took on the sins of the people and the punishment.

Have you ever had anyone make cruel, comments about you? Like everyone, I have had a few occasions when someone was unkind to me. When we are put into a position to have someone slander or make hateful remarks against us, it can be a very unpleasant. We are hurt by what happens and our first instinct is to want to respond and repay the person, or to react in a negative way. In doing so, we are giving in to evil, and then evil wins.
So, I wonder, when people hurt us and ridicule us, what would Jesus do? Jesus would pray for his enemies. If you love your enemies and “pray for those who persecute you,” you then truly reveal that Jesus is Lord of your life.
As Christians, we are taught to be respectful, courteous, always remembering our manners. If we are rude, it is unbecoming of our normal behavior, attitude and character.

It is not to say that we shouldn’t stand up for ourselves when we are in the right. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to everything.
Paul tells us in Ephesians, we are called to ‘speak the truth in love, being humble, gentle, and patient, bearing with one another in love, as love is not rude.’ (Ephesians 4:15).
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13 to pray for our enemies that they be blessed with goodness and wellness in their lives. To Love a person who has said hurtful things about us or lies, isn’t an easy thing to do. No matter what happens to us, we trust in Christ and have his blessings that live within us, and nothing can take that away from us. When we pray for forgiveness of the person who has injured us, we ourselves will be forgiven.

Romans (12: 9-11) tells us to love one another with brotherly affection not just pretend to love them. “Hate what is wrong, hold tight to what is good.” “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” “Bless those who persecute and do not curse them.”
Our feelings and emotions can change in any moment. God is looking for our heartfelt feelings when we are praying. Be kind to your enemies and your neighbor and expect nothing in return.
There are times we have forgiven a person and the hurt memories all come flooding back. Emotions can come flashing back at any time and it can be only natural to still be hurt and angry, as it takes time for healing and forgiveness. We should never be ashamed or guilty of holding on to the hurt, anger and pain for a long period of time. We make the choice to love and forgive knowing that God loves them just as he loves us.

In Corinthians Paul reminds us that “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.”
Love “represents human kindness, compassion, and affection, as “the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.”

Jesus taught us on the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew 5:8-12 saying: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
So again, the question, what would Jesus do? Jesus had enemies…Jesus was kicked, whipped, beaten and tortured, yet he continued to pray for his enemies and he had the ultimate victory in the end.
The next time someone hurts you, says cruel remarks or unkind things, remember what Jesus has did for us, and how he prayed for them…how can we do less? They crucified Him, yet He demonstrated the ultimate gift of love while hanging on the cross:

He stretched out his arms of love on the hard wood of the cross and cried out to the Father to forgive them for they know not what they do.
Amen

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