A New Tenant Moving Into Your Heart
Bbbbring! Bbbbring! Dashing across the room, I came to a sudden stop when I saw the phone id. Seriously! Ughhh! Please stop ringing! It was that number! My stomach began to knot up. My arms suddenly felt heavy with dread. Silence. A sigh of relief escaped from my mouth. You probably guessed that I didn’t get along with the person that had been at the other end of the line. I cannot believe she called! That simple ring totally ruined the rest of my day.
Fast forward a couple of years. The feeling I had that morning had grown with more encounters with the caller. Looking back and feeling shame, I had allowed my dislike to grow and fester, becoming a cancer in my soul. The cancer took over my personal relationships, my spiritual walk with God, and even became like an illness in my physical health. My mood arrow began to stay at irritated. My husband, children and friends suffered. Hatred had crept into my soul and took residence. How do you evict such an awful tenant? That eviction notice is found in Matthew 5:44.
Evict Hatred by Loving Your Enemies
Christ instructs us in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies. Our desires want differently. We view those we do not get along with as unlovable and irritations to our life. Love, impossible! Our hatred begins to speak for us. After all, the other person has committed atrocities that would make love an unfair justice, or at least in our minds. However, Christ prescribed an antidote that is a three step process to turn our hatred into love.
How to Let Love Occupy Your Heart
*Bless those who curse you. What?! How can I bless someone that caused pain in my life? Look beyond your pain. Desire the best for them. Salvation is the best desire for someone who is not a believer. For those who are believers, desire the will of God to be executed in their life. Believe me, that is a tall order! View the person beyond yourself and the circumstance. God loves those who are viewed to be your enemy as well. Put on Christ-centered glasses and look at the other person. This may seem impossible to accomplish. But when you do, you are on your way to kicking hatred out of your heart.
*Do good to those who hate you. I have to do what?! This command demands action. Try to uncloak the hatred that you have hung on that person and see them as a person made in God’s image. Try to think of ways to do good for this person. Doing this will be challenging especially if that other person has taken action against you like spreading lies, being deceitful, or trying to physically hurt you.
In Romans 12:20-21, it says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Doing well for those who have wronged us seems so backwards. It will burn the other person up trying to figure out the reason for your actions. The reason should be simple. It is Christ.
*Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Take your concern to God. Take your desires for the other person to God. Ask for blessings for them. If they have not followed Christ, pray that they will and even see Christ in your actions. Do not curse them. Pray for that they turn their hearts to Christ.
God knows hearts. Come to God with a repented heart, seeking forgiveness for your actions against those who persecute and use you. That forgiveness will soften your heart and eyes. Your hatred-colored eyes will begin to see glimpses of a soul in need of Christ, either in salvation or in restoration. Hatred will be evicted as you move love in for the person in your heart.
Hatred can be a growing cancer in one’s heart. It destroys your joy, as well as relationships with others. Don’t let your heart be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
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