Good Morning Brothers…
“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 mistreat you.”
When I was younger, I was filled with rage. I don’t know why. My parents were very loving. I was adopted as an infant and the educated men with degrees on their wall tell me it was because of the trauma of being given away. I don’t remember being given away, I only remember seeing red.
“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.”
I played sports, especially football, all the way through school and even played linebacker in college. I wasn’t big but I was able to take my mind to a very dark place. Once there, I was impervious to pain. I was able to get everything out of my body. I can still remember seeing the blindside of the quarterback with no blockers in front of him and feeling euphoric as I put my helmet between his shoulder blades while trying to break him in half.
“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.”
The emotion of the moment became my fuel. This fuel would burn bright and I seemed to have a limitless supply. I chose to fight and die on every proverbial hill I could because I relished the battle. I became so good at it that I could switch sides just to argue against my former position in a manner better than my opponent. Not to prove a point, but to prove me.
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”
Living this way for so many years leaves scars. My past life is filled with half-healed relationships, bad decisions, and the ramifications of using anger as a fuel and emotion as a guide.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”
God Almighty is certainly kind to ungrateful and evil men, because I was one of them. After Jesus came calling and the Holy Spirit filled me with the presence of the Almighty, my rage dissipated until the fuel tanks were empty. And then…a strange thing happened. My tanks began to fill with a new kind of fuel. A fuel blended with love, joy, and peace. My emotions steadied and my mind became calm. The only hill I was willing to die on now was whatever hill God designed for me. I’m still a fighter, I still love to battle, but now I fight to see God’s will be done. It takes work, it takes commitment, it takes a level of buy in I didn’t possess before.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
The last couple weeks have been hard. My family is battling. I appreciate the prayers of the faithful because they fill us with fuel to carry on the fight. Your prayers, wrap us, fill us, an empower us to do what needs to be done. My family does not stand the hill alone, we stand with all of you. The heavens rally to the cause because you have sought it through your prayers. When anger tries to fill my tank, a brother is handy to let me blow it out through a relief valve and then our prayers fills me with love again. I appreciate it. To follow Jesus we must first count the cost. I have counted and I am willing to pay.
I realize that we must be treated unfairly, we must be slapped on the cheek, we must be lied to, we give without expecting payback because that’s what Jesus did for us. He loved the most unlovable and gave His life that the most unlovable can become loved. How we react to the slaps, the insults, the betrayals mark our fuel. Years ago my fuel was anger and I was unlovable. Now my fuel is love, joy, and peace and I am able to fight on the hill using that as my weapons. I am not ashamed of this fight because I battle to bring the unlovable love…and in turn, empty their tank of anger and fill it with God Almighty.
We have all the heard the saying, “Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” I understand that the cost we must count is walking the road to Golgotha in the sandals of our Lord and Savior. Walking to our death.
I will pay…