But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
You know the story. A young man took his portion of his father’s inheritance and squandered it on riotous living. He ended up broken, ruined in health and spirit. At his lowest point, he decided to return to his father. Scripture tells us, “He arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20, NKJV).
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
I ministered in Detroit for 30 years. While preaching on the streets, I’ve been cursed at. I've been spit on. I've had bottles thrown at me. I've had bullets fly by. None of that ever bothered me, though. I wasn't offended. I didn't know the person; they didn’t know me.
My wife looks at me the wrong way, though, and Lord have mercy. That's worse than a bottle. That's worse than a gunshot.
“Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” (Revelation 9:3-4, NKJV).
Why is “greenness” important to our faith? Remember, the locusts are commanded not to touch anything green. Simply put, they can’t hurt anybody who’s walking in faith.
They say that the hardest animal in the world to catch is the ring-tailed monkey. It's incredibly difficult for outsiders to catch, but not for the locals. This very rare animal has a love for certain melon seeds, so what the locals do is hollow out a tiny hole in a tree, just big enough for the monkey to stick its hand through, and then they throw the seeds in the hole.
C.S. Lewis wrote these words: “Forgiveness is a lovely idea until you have to forgive someone.” Nothing could be truer, right?
Corrie ten Boom has one of the most amazing stories about forgiveness. Her book The Hiding Place is about how her family housed Jews running from the Nazis in Amsterdam. The Nazis eventually caught up with them and put her whole family in the concentration camps. Every one of them died, except Corrie. She went on for 30 more years to preach the gospel.
For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.