Matthew 5:43-45--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, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Nowhere in the Old Testament does it say “Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.” So why did Jesus say, “You have heard that it was said . . .”? At some point in time, zealous Jewish religious leaders made a mental leap of logic. They assumed that if they were to love their neighbor then the natural conclusion was animosity toward foreigners. The prevailing spin on Leviticus 19:18 while Christ walked in Israel was that hatred of enemies was an acceptable and welcome thing.
Yet before we condemn the Pharisee we must examine our own track record. White men don hoods and in the name of Christ lynch black men. This very day there remain churches in our land where a black person is not welcome to come and fellowship. In the name of doctrine, believers have split into camps that spew venom and scorn one toward the other. The world already rife with prejudice sees no validity in Christianity for the hatred they know lives in our very midst making us no different.
Jesus jolted His countrymen with the electric cry to love their enemies. He corrected their misconception of God by showing them His Father loves all mankind. Would to God we might feel that same passion Jesus preached. One cannot be prejudiced and extend arms of righteousness. The authentic mark of the child of God is love. Without love we make a mockery of the Almighty who if anyone had the right to be prejudiced, in His perfection sent His Son to die for an earth full of rebellious children.
Prejudice is more than abnormal pride it is ignorance. One cannot step in the overwhelming light of God’s presence and hate anyone. John Perkins, an eloquent preacher from Mississippi champions racial reconciliation despite the fact he was savagely beaten by white men bent on teaching this “uppity-nigger” a lesson; despite the pain of holding his dying brother in his arms—shot by a bigoted policeman. Why? There is no room for prejudice in the light of God’s grace. A bitter man became a better man because of love. A bitter land becomes a better land when we determine in our hearts that we will obey Jesus and let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. Something to think about . . . in reveration.
The way a searchlight works is a very good illustration for prejudice. A searchlight illumines only so much and no more; but let daylight come, and you find a thousand and one things the searchlight did not reveal.—Oswald Chambers in Bringing Sons Into Glory
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)