From the Pastor’s Pen:
“Blessed...” (Matthew 5:43-45)

Zachery Byrd

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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.”
(Matt. 5:43-45)

In the great state of Mississippi, we operate by common-sense principles. Some of them are inoculated into our society through everyday statements: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” or “Like father, like son.” Now, apply this to the world. A racially motived killing occurred in Buffalo, protestors are terrorizing the personal homes of Supreme Court Justices, Jackson has had their 54th homicide, and families in Hinds County refuse to speak to one another over prescriptions and politics. What lies at the bottom of this? The answer is: hate. If we take our common-sense principles, then the words of Jesus fitly apply - “You are of your father the devil.” (John 8:44)

Are not these actions quite different from “our Father who is in heaven?” His benevolence extends over all creation, for “these all look to God, to give them their food in due season.” (Ps. 104:27) To the ones who “did not honor Him nor give Him thanks,” God continues to give “life and breath and everything.” Each and every morning that we wake up, we sing with Lamentations 3:22, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” This is the image of our Father in heaven drawn with Scripture’s pencil.

Praise be to this God that He sent His only Son to be “born of woman, born under the law…so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:5) Whereas we were once children of wrath like the rest of mankind, we are made children of God by the grace of adoption (Eph. 2:1-10). By His Word and Spirit, He impresses on us this family image. (Rom. 8:14, 29) Do you bear that family image? Can one say of you, “Like heavenly Father, like adopted son”? If so, we are to pray for our enemies, to hold the door open for friend and foe alike, to feed and nourish both the just and the unjust. In short, we are to live like our Father who is in heaven.

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