“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father 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. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same (Matthew 5:44-46, NKJV)?”
The pre-set alarm chimmed, letting me know I had five minutes before morning prayer time would begin. Without opening my eyes, I could tell it was dreary outside. Yesterday’s weather reports were drenched with the forecast for a rainy day. The thought didn’t get a chance to fully form before I put it in check (2 Corinthians 10:5b)–I was not about to think or speak negatively about the rain. I chose instead to praise God for sending rain that was needed somewhere. I chose to appreciate the rain today as I had appreciated the sunshine the day before.
One of the primary issues God had to address over and over with the Israelite nation was their habit of murmuring. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as an “expression of discontent or dissatisfaction.” In a nutshell, it is to complain. I’m willing–though not proud–to admit I do my share of complaining. It is especially difficult not to complain when you find yourself in the ranks of the unemployed and you know you’ve got skills any employer should want to utilize. When trying to identify your “new normal” after the loss of a loved one, complaints are all around. Still, the opposite of a complaint is a compliment, and just as easily as we can utter a complaint about the rain we could find complimentary words about the importance of rain. After all, not too long ago in some areas we were experiencing drought. That was our opportunity to complain about the lack of rain, and we did it well.
In Matthew 5 (see above), Christ is teaching the importance of letting our love spill over into the enemies camp, too. It’s a no-brainer to enjoy the sunshine (until it leads to sunburn or parched crops–let the murmuring begin). It’s a no-brainer to love only those who love us. Christ invites us to step outside our comfort zone and love even our enemies. This does not mean to disregard the differences between us or any harm done to us. Instead, He encourages–actually commands–us to look beyond their faults to see their need for Him. It is the same need we had for Him. It is the reason He was born, died and was resurrected. So, rain or shine, loved or hated, appreciated or despised, it’s all the same. Complaining, in and of itself, never accomplished anything, but love changed my life from the inside out. I choose to appreciate the gloomy because that, too, helps shape me and gives me a greater appreciation for the warmth of the Son–every pun intended. –WordsInPrint by Suni
Closing prayer: Abba Father, thank You for emphasizing the importance of family. Whether two-parent, single-parent, blood related, adopted or through a social network, we are all part of a family. You desire to adopt us all, so that none would be an orphan. Make us truly grateful for our place in the family. Keep a watch over our tongues concerning the families into which we’ve been placed. Help us to be instrumental in making our families stronger, better and wiser. Let us not complain about our particular families, but appreciate the opportunity to be Your Light in the midst of each one. In Jesus’ name we pray, believing the things we ask we already have. Amen.
Edited; First published March 15, 2011 as FB Note.