But I tell you, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:44-45
The story has been told of a man who while hiking in a desert, stumbled upon a rattlesnake that had become hopelessly wedged between a boulder and some limbs from a fallen tree. The man decided to save the rattlesnake, but in the process the snake tried to bite him. The man tried to free the snake a second time. Again, the snake tried to bite the man. Finally, on the third attempt the man succeeded and still, the snake coiled and attempted to strike its liberator. The man’s companion, who had observed from a safe distance, asked the man why he continued to risk himself to free the snake. The man responded, “The snake was attempting to strike because that is its nature. My nature is to love. Should I cease to love because the snake attempts to strike?”
Jesus demonstrated this same concept–a commitment to living by his own nature regardless of another’s nature–when He gave his life to die on our behalf. Hebrews 12:3 instructs us to “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” The call of the Christ-follower is the call to live our lives following Jesus’ example and based on our new nature as God’s children. We are called to love and serve, regardless of the opposition or persecution we face from others.
Today, will you love even when others attempt to strike?
1. How do you usually respond when someone offends you?
2. How can the Holy Spirit within you make a difference in how you respond to others?
3. What steps can you take to make sure that Jesus’ nature shines through you when you encounter times of conflict?
Matthew 5:38-48; Romans 12:17-19; Colossians 3:12-14