We had a guest lecturer come to class this week. He was teaching us about the sermon on the mount.
Matt. 5:43-44 says:
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
we talked about the different meanings of love in Greek:
1) eros: expresses passionate love
2) philia: love between friends
3) storge: natural affection
4) agape: the highest form of love, charity and the love of God for man and of man for God
Guess which one the original Greek is in in this verse? Agape. What is Christ telling us to do? He's not telling us to simply tolerate the people that hate us or despite-fully use us. The commandment is to love them the same way that He loves them. Righteous acts cannot stem from unrighteous motives, or else they lose meaning and significance. Sometimes we seek to be validated horizontally rather than vertically. Shouldn't we seek validation from above rather than from those around us?
When Brother Griffin taught, the next class period, we continued talking about the Beatitudes, and he mentioned something that has stuck with me since then.
Forgiveness. We often think about forgiveness as forgiving others of their trespasses, but the hardest part is often forgiving ourselves. We seem to have this mindset:
"If I can't forgive myself, Jesus can forgive me but it won't do any good because I will hold myself hostage from His mercy" it's like saying that our badness is less than His goodness. Diminishing the goodness of Christ is not only blasphemous, it's something that we all know is wrong. Then why do we so easily fall into the trap of thinking that in all His infinite goodness, He cannot forgive us of our sins, no matter how grievous?
The application of this is that we go through every single day and we do things that should cause us to feel guilty because yeah we make mistakes and yeah we aren't perfect. Godly sorrow is something that motivates us to be better! But if seen the wrong way, godly sorrow can cause us to feel really depressed and bad about ourselves and then we simply feel horrible and don't think that we can ever feel good about ourselves. We have to let our mistakes motivate us to be better rather than drown us in inadequacies.
Don’t forget that everyone is Saul-like, but they have a Paul-like potential.