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Love ... Pray ... Forgive ...

God’s will for our lives and how we live toward others ... even those we find hard to deal with? It’s clear. Not simple but clear.

Love ...

Pray ...

Forgive ...

My reflective reading of Scripture recently had me in Matthew 5 and 6 where Jesus says these familiar words:You’ve heard it 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?

When God demonstrates His grace, He’s far less selective than we are. He gives grace to all. For which I’m glad and relieved. For it means He’s gracious to me—even when I don’t deserve it; which is also when I most need it.

His grace is big enough also to enfold those who I find hard to deal with, who irritate me, who give me grief and who I have to fight not to despise. And, so, I find myself drawn into prayer:

You show grace to all.

I am to pray for all—

even, maybe especially,

for those for whom it’s hard to pray.


I am to love those who are hard to love,

who give me grief,

cause irritation, even anger

and frustration.

Love ... and pray.

Your will for me toward all!

That’s hard enough. Then, You add forgive.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

With that, Jesus quickly goes from “preaching to meddling,” as a friend of mine is prone to say, when He continues: For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Love ... I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. (The Message)

Pray ... When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. (The Message)

Forgive ... Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.(The Message)

As rendered in The Message, Jesus sums it up at the end of Matthew 5 saying: For then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. ... You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.

Love ...

Pray ...

Forgive ...

Your will for me toward all!

That’s who You made and are making me to be and become—one who is like You.

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