It seems the Lord has launched a full blown attack on some of the sin in my life. Thanks for that.
Everywhere I turn I am hearing, reading, and talking about how to love those who are hard to love- either how to return a blessing for a curse, or how to trust the Lord instead of taking vengeance, or to love my enemies practically, or how Jesus loved sinful people. So this morning I spent some time thinking on some ways that I can return a blessing for a curse. And I came across this article written on “How Shall We Love Our Muslim Neighbor” by, who else?, The Pipe. I was able to glean some good tips of loving when it hurts.
P.S. This is a direct answer to prayer. A few weeks back I was reading in Ephesians 4 (which I intended to blog about but never did) and was struck so hard by the way that Christ’s love for us came in the form of the greatest sacrifice– his very life. I began praying that the Lord would help me to love when it comes at a cost. Not only has he been faithful to give me opportunities to do that, but has given me teaching, fellowship, and resources the spur on my thinking in it. I’m glad I can see the faithfulness of God….but sometimes want to kick myself for praying that kind of prayer now that it’s been answered!
So here’s the tips:
1. Pray the fullest blessing of Christ on them whether they love you or not. (Luke 6:28, Romans 12:14, 1 Corinthians 4:12)
2. Do good to them in practical ways that meet physical needs. (Luke 6:27, Luke 6:31, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, Romans 12:20)
3. Do not retaliate when personally wronged. (1 Peter 3:9, Romans 12:17-19)
4. Live peaceably with them as much as it depends on you. (Romans 12:18)
5. Pursue their joyful freedom from sin and from condemnation by telling them the truth of Christ. (John 8:31-32)
6. Earnestly desire that they join you in heaven with the Father by showing them the way, Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:1, John 14:6, John 3:16)
7. Seek to comprehend the meaning of what they say, so that your affirmations or criticisms are based on true understanding, not distortion or caricature. (1 Corinthians 13:6)
8. Warn them with tears that those who do not receive Jesus Christ as the crucified and risen Savior who takes away the sins of the world will perish under the wrath of God. (John 1:12, Romans 10:9, Philipiians 3:18)
9. Don’t mislead them or give them false hope by saying, “Muslims worship the true God.” (John 8:19, John 5:23, John 5:42-43)
*Or by giving them false assurance of salvation simply because they say they are of have “prayed the prayer.”
I am praying that the Lord gives me the grace to do these things– some of them make me wince just looking at them because I know how hard they can be! I think I am going to make a checklist of this list of suggestions and every day go through them and see if I’ve acheived them until they become habit.