By Michael Crandall
Senior Pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Dyersburg
Focal Passage: Matthew 5:43-48
How can a person walk through life and learn how and why we love things, places, and people? When we think about what love is, we understand that love is not just something we say or a surface feeling. When we realize what the Bible tells us that is and how and why we must love, we can then grasp a better understanding!
When I was a young boy I “loved” playing out on that little farm I grew up on! I “loved” when we had homemade ice cream! I “loved” riding the tractor with my grandfather! The question now becomes why did I love those times? Why would I love to play, eat, and have fun? When we look at the Scripture for this week we see what Jesus said love is and how we should apply that love to our lives!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).
Let’s look at this passage. How hard is it to love those who love you? It is not hard at all, is it? I have the privilege to serve the local church as a pastor, and over the years of being a pastor I have learned it is easy to love God’s people, especially the children. One of the greatest opportunities I have as a pastor is the ability to walk into the children’s area and get hugs and see those smiling faces. Most Sunday mornings I have a few children who like to sit by the pastor until it is time to go to their worship time.
As a pastor I also have learned that no matter how much we try to love some they will not love us back. Over the years I have seen my share of those in the church who do everything they can to cause problems and conflict in the body of Christ! And more than once I have asked God, “Why do we have to love them?” And every time God has told me I should love them because I too at times have been unlovable and that God loves me anyway.
So let us learn to love as Christ loved, let us serve as Christ served, and let us not grow weary even when those who dislike us seem to always beat us up. Know God loves us even when it seems no one else does.