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     If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get 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 is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.Luke 6:32-36

Dear heavenly Father, if I was ever in doubt about the power of your law, commands and statutes to drive me to Jesus, all doubt is removed by this one Scripture. I cannot and I will not love like this apart from union and communion with Jesus.

So as I pray through this passage today, I do so, convinced of your love for me in Jesus and comforted to know that you have hidden my life in his. That is my only hope. Indeed, you were merciful to me in my ungratefulness and the evil of my unbelief—reconciling me to yourself while I was still your enemy (Rom. 5:8-10).

Who are my enemies—real or imagined? Forgive me for labeling some people “enemy” simply out of my bruised pride, hurt feelings, and fragile self. Gentle me in those relationships. Simply avoiding them will do no good, and rehearsing their failures will only fertilize my bitterness.

Father, for real enemies—those who’ve been instruments of harm in my life, by their words or with their own hands—for these relationships, give me wisdom and courage, faith and grace.

Lastly, in situations where I’m treated as someone’s enemy, help me to care more about your glory than my reputation. Where I need to own my sin and repent, please make it clear to me, loving Father. When other people’s anger and distrust have very little to do with me, grant me grace and patience, kindness and understanding for them.

Father, I praise you for not rewarding me according to my sins; and I worship you for rewarding me according to Jesus’ righteousness. May your grace continue to permeate and transform all my relationships. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ strong and loving name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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