Loving Like Jesus
I am much more proficient at “carnal” that I am at “consecrated”. After over 50 years of being a Christian, I really thought I would have progressed further in my spiritual walk. No one said it would be easy, but I did think I would be much more “infected” with the Christian virus by this time. It is not the deep things that buffalo me. I have not yet gotten that far. It is the plain truths, the rudimentary principles, the elementary school spirituality that still has me “staying in after school” for more practice. Can I just be honest? It is genuine Christ-like love is the hardest thing for me. Am I one of the few that really wrestles with what Jesus said in the first portion of the SERMON ON THE MOUNT? I really struggle with His teaching here. Do you?
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt.5:10-12).
“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, 9 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. (Matt.5:44-48).
After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, no person in all of East Germany was more despised than the former Communist dictator, Erich Honecher. He had been stripped of all his offices. Even the Communist Party rejected him. Kicked out of his villa, the new government refused him and his wife new housing. The Honechers were homeless and destitute.
Enter Pastor Uwe Holmer, director of a Christian help center north of Berlin. Made aware of the Honechers’ straits, Pastor Holmer felt it would be wrong to give them a room meant for even needier people. So the pastor and his family decided to take the former dictator into their own home!
Erich Honecher’s wife, Margot, had ruled the East German educational system for twenty-six years. Eight of Pastor Holmer’s ten children had been turned down for higher education due to Mrs. Honecher’s policies, which discriminated against Christians. Now the Holmers were caring for their personal enemy—the most hated man in Germany. This was so unnatural, so unconventional, and so Christ-like.
By the grace of God, the Holmers loved their enemies, did them good, blessed them, and prayed for them. They turned the other cheek. They gave their enemies their coat (their own home).
They did to the Honechers what they would have wished the Honechers would have done to them. (Reported by George Cowan to Campus Crusade at the U.S. Division Meeting Devotions, Thursday, March 22, 1990.)