“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 sons 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 brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48
God’s love is sacrificial, forgiving, eternal and forever. Are you loving and praying for your enemies today? Are you including your beloved spouse and even the other person on your prayer list? Will you choose to forgive them every time they do something to hurt you? This may seem hard, but when your spouse or other loved ones are coming against you for marriage restoration, lay them at the Lord’s feet and ask the Lord to fill you with His agape love. The Holy Spirit will empower you to do this.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:9-13
We are praying for the Lord to speak to all prodigals every day. God was dealing with Bob regarding his sin. That Tuesday morning when he got into his car heading south to see me, he was trying to do something to give him spiritual relief from the guilt of his sinful lifestyle.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Psalm 51:1-4
God loves when sinners repent. He then joyfully forgives them of their sins, cleanses their heart and gives them eternal life. This is the kind of love that brought Jesus to earth to seek and save the lost.
Do you feel far from God today? Do not be discouraged or be in despair. All you have to do is call on His name, “Jesus, help me.” Will you seek the Lord for His divine intervention in your marriage problems and any other problems you may be facing this week?
Do you love your spouse today? Love is a command. The commandment to love others is in both the Old and the New Testament. You can show love by becoming more like Jesus. Your Christ-like behavior and words may bring your spouse or other loved ones to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Our Lord Jesus taught us that we are to love our friends and our enemies. For you, that may seem like I am talking about your spouse who may be acting like your enemy right now and who may be very unlovable. Regardless of your spouse’s behavior today, let’s read how you are to react to their behavior.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Love is the “key” to walking in the light, because we cannot grow spiritually while we “hate” others. Love is a choice. Christian love is not a feeling or emotion, but a choice. Love chooses forgiveness rather than revenge. Jesus said we should do good to those who wrong us. His command is that we should love and forgive. This is not natural–but supernatural. Only God can give you the ability and strength to love as He does. Ask the Lord to give you the love that you need to have for your spouse through the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray for those who are hurting you. As part of your devotions read, Romans 12:9-21 about loving others.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21
This passage in Romans is challenging you to overcome evil by choosing to strive to live in peace and not reacting by word or action to those who are hurting you.
Many years ago when I read that scripture I thought, “Yes, Lord, burn Bob!” Then as I read the concordance in my Study Bible, I learned that while we are doing good and loving our spouse who is acting as an enemy right now, it allows God to magnify their sense of guilt. I needed to let the power of the Holy Spirit drive Bob to repentance.
Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Me, love my spouse, now? Yes, I believe that the greatest gift you will ever give your spouse is standing, loving them unconditionally forever, even when they are unlovable. Ask yourself this question, “What does Jesus want me to do? What is He asking me to do? Will I obey my Lord Jesus Christ to do His will in my life?”
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
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Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.