“Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54 ESV) James and John said in unison. The disciples were bothered that the Samaritans didn’t receive Jesus as He traveled through Samaria on His way to Jerusalem. These disciples didn’t believe in equal opportunity for men they perceived to be enemies.
Can you imagine James and John’s surprise when Jesus rebuked them rather than the Samaritans? Jesus knew the Samaritans misinterpreted His troubled face as disdain.
How could Jesus be happy at a time like this? Although He had an inner joy, His countenance showed He was wrestling with His greatest mission—to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. Jesus knew it would be a matter of days before He would hang on Calvary’s cross. Expectedly, His countenance showed this distress. But, perhaps also, some of Jesus’ heartache was because the disciples had walked with Him for three years and were still falling short of showing kindness to the lost and dying world He was called to pay the penalty of sin for. Jesus wanted His disciples to understand sacrificial grace.
Grace upon enemies and friends alike is the character Jesus was wanting His disciples to emulate. And yet here they were—two of the trusted three in his inner circle—showing the opposite character He wanted them to comprehend.
Perhaps Jesus repeated portions of The Sermon on the Mount as they journeyed further, “Ye hath heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thine neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to them which hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44-45 KJV)
If I’m totally honest, I’m like James and John at times. It goes against my fleshly nature to be kind to an enemy. Don’t get me wrong; God does judge the truly unrepentant, but He also warns me not to condemn another individual. Only God knows a person’s inner man.
If I take Jesus at His Word and show kindness to an enemy, what does this accomplish? My witness just might be that person’s saving grace. Hebrews 7:25 KJV reads, “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Jesus, the Great Intercessor, prays for people. I must follow His example.
Did the Samaritans who made Jesus’ Jerusalem journey troublesome deserve grace? Probably not. Jesus showed them grace anyway.
Did the thieves who died alongside Jesus deserve grace? No, they did not. Jesus showed kindness anyway, and one of these thieves transformed into a son of the kingdom of light. To this man, Jesus said, “Truly, I say unto you, today you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43 ESV)” Both men had equal opportunity to receive forgiveness. One accepted.
Do I deserve Jesus’ grace? I do not. But He showers love upon me anyway, and He does the same for you, my friend. Knowing this makes me eager to show grace to every person God sends my way.
When we show kindness and patience, and share the love of God to an enemy, will this result in the person’s transformation? Sometimes it will; other times it won’t make a difference at all. It’s a mixed bag. But, for the sake of those who will receive our message, we must choose to show grace.
We have a choice… Let’s make the decision to be an equal opportunity giver of kindness and of grace.
When we show kindness, this leads a sinner towards repentance. Romans 2:4b NASV reads, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
The person who led me to the Lord practiced kindness a lot. I was testing her, trying to see if I could push her buttons. Because of her kind responses, I knew the relationship she had with Jesus was genuine. My friend’s kind words helped me to desire a relationship with Christ too, and this resulted in my salvation. I’m guessing you have a similar testimony….
It’s time to trust the Lord to fill our hearts with grace, so the words that flow from our mouths are kind, even when an individual is being unkind. The more we practice, the more souls we will win into the kingdom.
Lord Jesus, help me to be an equal opportunity giver of kindness and a conduit of Your grace.
Equal Opportunity is a true story.
Copyright © 2019: Equal Opportunity: Diane Virginia Cunio: Pen Name, Diane Virginia: All Rights Reserved: https://vinewords.net/equal-opportunity-2/