You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children 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. — Matthew 5:43–45
A man from a small town had a son who was a soldier. That son was brutalized and killed in Afghanistan. The father was heartbroken. He said that he would like to meet the young men responsible. Why do you think that was?
He wanted to show them what it would be like to have someone care about them. He would take them deer hunting, take them fishing in the local rivers, and go for hikes up in the mountains — all the things he would have done with his own son. His heart was heavy with loss, but he forgave them.
This man’s response was extraordinary. It also showed that he understood two things. One is that the love of an earthly dad is a powerful and precious influence. The other is that we are called to love as our heavenly Father loves.
How does He love?
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. — 1 John 4:9
Romans 5:8 reminds us,
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God loves of His own volition. He loves without our having earned it in any way. He loves so much that He sacrificed His own Son for us.
Just like the bereaved man described above, we too can pray — can hope — that those who wish us harm will know the unfathomable love of the Father.
Father God, I cannot understand the depths of Your love for me. Please pour Your love through me. Empower me to love others as You do, even those who are my enemies.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions from the Mountains by Lisa Ham, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Tomorrow is Father’s Day! How do you plan to celebrate the dad or father figure in your life? To all the papas, we know that the love of an earthly dad is a powerful and precious influence. The FaithGateway team is praying for you to grow more like our Heavenly Father every day! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!