“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 sons 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:43–47, NIV 1984).
My Musings – What are we doing more than others? If we stand out from the crowd, is it for the right reason? Or are we blending in with the “pagans?” When we get pushed around by our “enemies,” do we push back with enmity? Are we welcoming to only for those we love? For only those in our own circle? Only for those who are like us? What kind of witness is that? More importantly, what kind of Christlikeness is that?
Over the past few years, even if we did nothing different than we did before, we should have stood out in a positive way. But we should not be content to stand out because the rest of the world is getting worse. For “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3–8, NIV 1984). So we are without excuse.
My Advice – The text does not merely say make an effort. It says make “every effort.” There will be plenty of times that it will take every effort. We should make this kind of effort in order to “fulfill the law of Christ,” which is:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:33–35, NIV 1984).
They may find it to be quite puzzling, but it possibly could turn them to Christ.