There are all kinds of ways to make enemies: be rude, make a mean comment, don’t keep your word, use other people for your own advantage. As children of God we don’t want to do any of those things. The Lord points us in an entirely different direction: “Love your neighbor as yourself….If your enemy is hungry, feed him…do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing….Consider others better than yourselves.” We strive to befriend all people in love for the Lord.
So then how does it happen that one of the surest ways of making enemies is by speaking and living as a believer in Jesus? Jesus showed perfect, holy love toward all, yet was hated by many. He told the disciples they should expect the same treatment. That is true for us present day followers too. Why? Because, while everyone appreciates kind gestures and consideration, no one by nature wants to hear God’s call to repent of sin and believe in Jesus as the Savior and the only way to eternal life. It means a denial of “self”, a rejection of the world, and a complete turnaround in the direction of one’s life.
It wasn’t that Jesus had done something wrong to cause people to reject and resent Him. He mourned over Jerusalem: “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matt. 23:37). Yet in spite of His enemies, Jesus continued preaching and teaching, and finally went to the cross and sacrificed Himself for the sins of all people, even those who wanted nothing to do with Him.
Following Jesus will inevitably make enemies, but don’t let that discourage you from letting His light shine out from you in love and forgiveness. For it is that very news of Jesus’ holy life and sacrificial death which has the power to soften hard hearts, replace unbelief with faith, and transform enemies into friends and fellow believers. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
In tomorrow’s sermon text (Matt. 10:34-42) Jesus tells us that we will have enemies, but that shouldn’t discourage us from following Him, for “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
The annual voters meeting will be held after second service. The Lord’s work of proclaiming His Word becomes more urgent and vital with each passing year. Please make plans to attend.