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Apr 1, 2015

Love Your Enemy – Family Activity and Devotional

Take a few minutes at breakfast, dinner or bedtime to focus the family on one of the key principles from the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Read Matthew 22:47-54

 

While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. They were led by Judas, one of the twelve apostles. He went over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss. Jesus asked Judas, “Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ disciples saw what was about to happen, they asked, “Lord, should we attack them with a sword?” One of the disciples even struck at the high priest’s servant with his sword and cut off the servant’s right ear. “Enough of that!” Jesus said. Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed it.

Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the temple police, and the leaders who had come to arrest him. He said, “Why do you come out with swords and clubs and treat me like a criminal? I was with you every day in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me. But this is your time, and darkness is in control.” Jesus was arrested and led away to the house of the high priest, while Peter followed at a distance.

Jesus had every right to oppose His own arrest. He had done nothing wrong. On the contrary, He had healed the sick, raised the dead, loved the unlovable, and ushered in the kingdom of heaven. Those are very good things. When the disciple attacks the high priest’s servant we think he is acting completely normal for the circumstances. Jesus is the one who acts very abnormally by first healing the servant and then succumbing to the unlawful arrest. Even when Jesus is being treated wrongfully He continues to love, heal, and act in obedience with God’s will.

Discuss

Have you ever wanted to lash out at someone who was treating you wrongfully?

Have you ever followed through with your feelings?

Many times we believe that if we are wronged, we have the “right” to wrong that person back. That is not the way Jesus acted, however. He, in fact, acted in the exact opposite way that we would expect.

Why is it so hard for us to “be Jesus” to someone who has treated us badly?

Activity

Take this challenge as we continue to think about Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem, and the example that He sets for us by His actions. Think of someone who has treated you wrongly in the past days, weeks, or even months. Write their name on a piece of paper, along with the injury you suffered at their hands (“he lied to me about_________”, or “she said ___________ and that hurt me”, etc.). If you are doing this as a family or with some other Christians, share your hurts if you can. You don’t have to share because some hurts are just between you and God, but sharing helps you cleanse your heart of the hurt.

When you have done this, pray that God will allow you to forgive this person, cleanse your heart of resentment, and be able to move beyond the hurt.

Pray

God my Father, I have been hurt by , and I want to forgive. Please cleanse me of resentment, anger, and hate. Create in me a new heart. Help me to remember that is your child, and I should forgive like You do. Ease my pain. Help me to remember not to hurt others as I have been hurt. Thank You, Father, for forgiving me. Help me to be more like You.

Note: This has nothing to do with what the person did. It is all about your attitude and heart. You cannot change what happened. You cannot change the other person’s heart, actions, or attitude. You can only change yourself with God’s help.

Activity

After you have written this on the paper and prayed for this person, burn the paper. Put it in a safe container (preferably outside) and light it with a match. As the paper burns, imagine that hurt and resentment in your life burning with it. When the paper burns, it is gone forever. Ask God to take your resentment and hurt and anger out of your heart forever.

Note: If you are uncomfortable with burning, tear the paper into tiny pieces and flush it down the toilet. Don’t just throw it in the trash where it will remain as a reminder of your hurt. Get rid of it forever. (Don’t litter, however.)

Jesus did not stand up to, fight back against, or resist the evil that overcame the crowd in the garden. He healed those that would see Him killed. It is a difficult thing to be more like Jesus, yet God calls us to a life of peace and love even for our enemies.

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