Spirit, soften my heart to the world around me today.
“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 children 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 own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
Jesus was constantly loving those who stood in opposition to him and his message. In the face of hate, rejection, mockery, accusations, and even death, Jesus kept his heart focused on what was important. That meant living with no agenda except love, which led Jesus to live with grace and truth in a way that sets the example for the rest of us.
We can love each other by speaking truth into others’ lives. Jesus regularly called out those who claimed to do things in God’s name because they were acting outside of God’s will and character. By holding each other accountable, we ensure that the name of God does not get used in vain and we clear the path for others to see the true Christ and his loving character.
We also help set the example for others by putting our faith into action in our community. Being able to have civil discourse helps foster community and puts a priority on truth, grace, and love. Get to know those you disagree with. Be willing to listen – TRULY listen – and focus on the grace and love of Jesus as you navigate new conversations and relationships.
Spirit, open my heart and mind to those I might not gravitate toward because of our differing views and experiences. Give me the mind and words to bridge the gap the world puts between us with the love you use to weave a beautiful picture of redemption.