(Jesus said) "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
How many times have you heard someone say, "I hate ____."?
When someone hates something, or someone else, it is a negative sentiment that transforms anything which might be good into something altogether bad.
When Karin was a teenager, she had a problem. At least she thought she did. Karin's problem was her younger sister, Anna. Anna had the nasty quality of always trying to look the same and do the same things Karin did.
Every day Karin thought to herself, I hate Anna! She is a terrible, great stone weighing down my life!
When Karin reached the ripe, old age of 21, and Anna was 18, things changed. Almost miraculously Karin discovered that Anna was no longer a stone in her life.
On the contrary, Anna had become a blessing, a most enjoyable part of her life. The difference came about when Karin realized Anna's copycatting was motivated by the great respect she had for her older sister.
The hate was gone.
"Hate" is a terrible word.
Jesus knew that. That's why in Matthew 5:22 He said His followers would live in a different way than they had before. They would have a different life and in that life there was no room for hatred. This is what the Savior said: "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."
As the Savior spent His life saving us, He practiced what He preached. When people tried to discredit Him, when they tried to ruin Him, even when they murdered Him Jesus continued to love them.
And we Christians are to do the same.
Today the Word of God comes to us and encourages us to live without hate. By Holy Spirit-given faith in the crucified and risen Redeemer we are urged to love as Jesus loved us.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, remove from our hearts all anger and hate toward others. Instead, following the example of our dear Redeemer, may we live our lives reflecting the love and forgiveness we have been given. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: This devotion has been shared with us by Pastor Clóvis V. Gedrat from the Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) office in Brazil. We thank him for his work in sharing the Savior both there and today with us. In that Latin American country of 200 million people, LHM operates as Cristo Para Todas las Nações (CPTN)-Brazil. Outreach programs include "Five Minutes with Jesus," a radio program; "Messages of Hope," a voicemail response service delivering more than 10,000 Gospel replies each month; and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC).
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries