Iron Bowl Love Matthew 5:43-48

This morning I’m reminded that there is only 5 days left until the start of college football season. It is my favorite time of year and many of you know that I am a huge Auburn fan. Having said that some of you know instantly what could ruffle my feathers. Yes that’s right “Roll Tide” (Just typing that was like the Fonz saying ‘ I’m SORRY’) Hands down the biggest rivalry is between Auburn University and The University of Alabama. It is so great that families have split, children have been disowned, and people have lost their jobs. When a child is born in the state of Alabama it is predestined to say “War Eagle” or “Roll Tide.” I have even owned a bumper sticker that said “My 2 favorite teams are Auburn and anyone who plays Alabama. It was a real HATE for the other team.

Jesus  said that we are to Love our Neighbor, which is central to the Christian image, and then continues breaking the thought pattern of his listeners by adding that we should “Love our enemies as well.” On top of that we are to pray for them. WHAT?!? You see what good does it do if we only show love to those who it’s easy to love? Bad things happen to both the good and the evil in this world. So if we ONLY love those who are easy to love then what kind of reward would we have? Or in other words,  What kind of image does it paint for the unbeliever of a Christian?

Even unsaved people do these things. The Bible say that “if we are only loving those who love you …and greet those who greet you… what are you doing out of the ordinary?” Then Jesus says that we are to “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We are not to be  from the world that shows partiality. But if we show love impartially, guided by grace and mercy, then we show ourselves distinct, and we shine before the world, bringing glory to the Father.

That’s the main idea; Our righteousness MUST impact the world because it surpasses mere “religiosity.”

I have calmed down on my enthusiasm for college football, but not much. I no longer treat my Alabama friends as lepers and unclean outcasts. I congratulate them on wins and special achievements but I’ll always root for the other team.

Exercise for the day;

Look around for those who you would consider your enemy and find ways to show love to them. It could be that you can simply just be an ear to them. Jerry Falwell had many enemies but he always showed them love. His biggest opponent, Larry Flynt, was also one of his best friends. Think of the impact that Dr. Falwell had for Christianity on Flynt’s life even though his lifestyle has not.

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