“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still SINNERS, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:7-8
In case you missed that, read it again. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners – literally, ENEMIES of God – Christ died for us. Have you thought about that?
All of us are sinners. We hurt people. We gossip about, lie to, steal from, cheat, and manipulate others. Selfishly, we put ourselves first.
Before we become children of God by putting our faith in Jesus, Paul (who wrote Romans) says that we are considered God’s enemies. Some of us might deny the fact that we were (or are), at some point, enemies of God. If that’s you, it’s because you don’t grasp the bigness of your sin.
You see, sin is NOT just mistakes that God doesn’t like. Sin is a violation AGAINST creator God Himself, His created intent for us, and His will for us. Sin is not just what we do. Sin is who we are.
- Make us bad. It makes us GUILTY before creator God.
- Make us a little blemished in God’s eyes. It makes us COMPLETELY DETESTABLE to a holy God.
- Evoke God’s mercy. It makes us CHILDREN OF GOD’S WRATH.
- Make us bad. It makes us DEAD.
- Hurt our relationship with God. It COMPLETELY SEPARATES US FROM GOD and the LIFE only He can give.
“BUT GOD demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
"BUT GOD"…first loved us enough to send Jesus to died for us WHILE we were still His enemies. He loudly proclaimed His love for us through Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf…while we were still His enemies.
Do you know this God…the One who loves His enemies? Have you seen and experienced His love, His forgiveness, His grace? If you haven’t, I hope you will. I invite you to get to know Him and to consider putting your faith in Him by asking Him to be the Forgiver of your sins and the Leader of your life.
For those of us who are already followers of Christ…Do you feel like someone is against you? Do you feel like you have an enemy?
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus utters this seemingly ridiculous command: “But I tell you, LOVE your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Is LOVE your response to those you feel are against you…your enemies?
Following Jesus means we LOVE our enemies, because this is how God first loved us. Following Jesus means we bless our enemies with undeserved favor, because God first blessed us with undeserved favor.
Loving those who are against us is when God’s love is proclaimed to them through us.
God loves EVERY person we perceive as an enemy. He wants them to know to know His amazing love for them. That happens throughus.
I believe it is possible to turn enemies into friends. That happens by us choosing to LOVE them. When we become friends with our enemies, the love of God can truly flow from us to them.
Will you love like Jesus? Will you choose to love those who are against you?
Then let’s choose to start living PALMS UP. In his book Love Does, Bob Goff, a lawyer, talks about this strategy he gives his clients who are about to be questioned in a legal deposition. He tells his clients to sit in the chair and answer the questions, but to do it with their hands palms up the whole time. When their palms are up, he says, they have an easier time being calm, honest, and accurate. And this is important, because it’s harder for them to get defensive.
Anybody can be defensive with clenched fists. But nobody can be defensive with their palms up. Palms up means you have nothing to hide and nothing to gain or lose. Palms up means you are strong enough to be vulnerable, even with your enemies. Even when you have been tremendously wronged.
Palms up is powerful because it is what Jesus did. We may assume that loving like this is weak, but in actuality, it is powerful strength. Anyone can walk around fists up, ready to throw a punch, ready to retaliate. But it takes a real man or woman of God – and God's powerful strength – to live palms up.
Will you choose to start living palms up…proclaiming God’s love loudly to those who are against you?