SCRIPTURE: Colossians 1:8 (NIV)
Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
In The Grace of Giving, Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist pastor during the American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed the friendship of George Washington. In Ephrata also lived Michael Wittman, an evil-minded sort who did all he could to oppose and humiliate the pastor. One day Michael Wittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to die. Peter Miller traveled seventy miles on foot to Philadelphia to plead for the life of the traitor.
"No, Peter," General Washington said. "I cannot grant you the life of your friend."
"My friend!" exclaimed the old preacher. "He's the bitterest enemy I have."
"What?" cried Washington. "You've walked seventy miles to save the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in different light. I'll grant your pardon." And he did.
Peter Miller took Michael Wittman back home to Ephrata--no longer an enemy but a friend.
How many of us would walk across the street let alone walk 70 miles to save the life of an enemy? Sobering question isn’t it. Just the thought of going out of our way for the sake of someone who has gone out of their way to deliver hurt and harm to us sends shivers down ones spine if we really think about the huge dimension of that reality.
Jesus asks us to forgive our enemies. He asks us to go the second mile, to give coat and cloak, to turn the other cheek … boy that is hard stuff! Read about in Matthew 5. It almost seems impossible because we have been “trained” to get even, to repay blow for blow, to hate our sworn enemies. Don’t believe me? Just read some of the recent emails that have popped up in the in-box.
Jesus never said it was going to be easy. And this illustrates the reality just how difficult it is going to be … but, hey, in the process a friend just be realized. Isn’t it worth the effort? The alternative is ulcers, cancer and a joy-less life.
I don’t know about anyone else, but Jesus’ way sounds a lot better …don’t you think.
Love is hard stuff God … it is real hard, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we are going to make it … and change the world in which we live!