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Devotion #3, Friday, February 12

A Blessed Conformity – “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27-28
We are tempted to conform to this world in our relationships with others more than in any other arena of life. We feel compelled to repsond to others as they have dealt with us. When we feel we have been cursed, we curse back – or at least let ourselves feel resentment about the insult. When we have been mistreated, we cultivate a bitterness about the experience. And Jesus never says that these are not genuine or legitimate feelings. Nowhere does the Savior say, “No, you haven’t been slighted as you thought; you haven’t actually been mistreated, it only feels that way.”
No, Jesus gives no attention to whether our feelings are legitimate. That is not the point. Our feelings may be entirely accurate. What Jesus calls for, instead, is absolutely counterintuitive to the human experience: a rejection of our resentment and bitterness, no matter how appropriate they are. We are to love even when love grates against our souls. While we hope for the downfall of our enemies, Jesus actually expects us to pray for blessings to rain down upon them. Why?
The Bible says we were once enemies of God (Romans 5:10; Col. 1:21). And His response was to rain blessings upon us – the gift of salvation. Did this give us victory over God? Did it make us haughty? Quite the contrary. God’s blessing, in spite of our enmity with Him, subdued us. It made us humble. Neither will our blessing of our enemies give them the victory we think it will. Rather, it will demonstrate the grace of God. And we will be one step closer to being like Him.

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