March 30, Thursday

The AMI QT Devotionals for March 28-April 2 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston) while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Love Does Not Rejoice at Wrongdoing

1 Corinthians 13:6-7

[love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Loves does not rejoice at wrongdoing.” It can be easy to read this and breeze right by, thinking, Of course, love does not rejoice at wrongdoing!  But let me you ask this: How often do you get excited when you see “justice” being served where you think it’s due?

For example, sometimes while driving down the highway, someone will speed by me or cut me off or drive in a way that bothers me, so I’ll think, “I hope they get pulled over.” I am rejoicing at the potential for their downfall. And then, let’s imagine that I see those blue lights appear and pull that car over – it would be pure glee.

But no, God’s word says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This means we give the benefit of the doubt; we wish what is best for others, even if we feel they deserve “justice.” To rejoice at the downfall of others is not love – in fact it’s the opposite of love. Remember what Jesus said in His great kingdom sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

One area in particular I think many of us can be in danger of this is in the arena of politics. I know many people who follow the headlines with glee every time there is bad news about the President. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with policies, but to rejoice when bad things happen, to actually wish for impeachment, as I’ve heard several people say, that goes against love as described in 1 Corinthians. That’s rejoicing with wrongdoing. No, “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

God calls us to love—and love is not easy. But Jesus says that by loving others, even those we call enemies, we will be children of our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:45). To live out our identity as children of God, love is a necessity, and this means we do not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoice with the truth.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You do not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rather, you love us unconditionally. You loved us even when we were against You. Help us to love as You do, to love even those who we find most difficult to love. Help us to obey Jesus’ commands to love and pray for our enemies. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 19


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Matthew 5:43-8: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Questions to Consider

  1. According to this passage, who are we to love?
  2. How do we show that we are “sons of your Father who is in heaven” if we love our enemies?
  3. Is there any “enemy” in your life you need to love and pray for?

Notes

  1. This passage lists several groups of people – our neighbors, our enemies, those who love us, those who do not love us. Basically, we are to love all people, regardless of our relational position or feelings towards them.
  2. By loving our enemies, we are reflecting the character of God, just as a son or daughter is a reflection of sorts of their parents. This passage tells us that God makes His sun rise on all people and sends rain on all people – these are symbols of God’s blessings. Through His common grace, God blesses all people; likewise, we are called to love and pray for the blessing of all people, even our enemies.
  3. Let’s apply Jesus’ commands! Write down the names of people you encountered today that you need to love.

EVENING REFLECTION

Pray now for those in your life you have trouble loving. Pray for those with whom you disagree – including any politicians you may disagree with. If you are holding any unforgiveness towards anyone, perhaps now is the time to pray for that person and ask God for the strength to love them.

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