(Jesus said) "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . . ." Matthew 5:44
If the news in these Daily Devotions doesn't seem as fresh as usual, it's because Pastor Klaus prepared these devotions before he left for Europe. He is in Germany until early next week conducting a seminar with Lutheran military chaplains stationed overseas. He asks your prayers for all who attend and even more prayers for those who cannot.
I know what the Lord said about loving your enemies. I know it is the right thing to do. I know it is the way that would please Him.
I also know it's not the kind of thing done very often.
It was a long time ago when William McKinley was running for Congress. His job was made harder by a journalist whose paper supported McKinley's opposition. Although every article the newspaperman wrote was critical of McKinley, the candidate could not help but be touched by the man's enthusiasm, his inventiveness, his work ethic, and the shrewd way he capitalized on any mistake or obvious error McKinley made.
McKinley admired the newspaperman who, in spite of a having a terrible cold and being poorly paid, still kept going. If McKinley was going to make an appearance, the reporter would be there to cover that appearance.
That's the way it was one cold, rainy night when the candidate rented a carriage to take him to a far away town where he would make a presentation. All was going famously until McKinley heard a familiar cough.
The sick newspaperman was sitting up alongside the driver -- in the rain.
In an instant, McKinley ordered the conveyance stopped and asked the young man to come down and join him in the relative comfort and warmth of the carriage. Before the writer settled in, he said, "I don't think you know me, I'm the guy who has been taking you apart like a clock."
McKinley said, "I do know who you are. But, here, you put on his coat and come inside and get warm, so that you can do a good job when you criticize me next time."
I like that story. I like it because it shows what kind of man McKinley was -- at least that night. I like it because it reminds me of Jesus' story and what kind of Man He was. Jesus didn't complain that His first bed was an animal's feeding trough. He didn't complain when His family had to run from a power-mad king. Jesus didn't complain when He was betrayed, arrested, beaten, spit upon, and crucified.
Even in death, as He hung upon the cross, giving His life to save us, Jesus didn't complain. Instead of cursing those who put Him there, Jesus prayed for them, asking for their forgiveness. It shows what kind of Man He was. It shows what type of divinity He is. Three days later His resurrection would show Him to be the forgiver of dark sins, the Redeemer of lost souls.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, when I open my mouth, may it be a tool that praises You and avoids cursing others. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries