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Unexpected Kindness

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Unexpected Kindness

In Our Own Backyard...

America has quickly become a place where the sharing of different viewpoints is met with increasing, even brutal, opposition.
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 2932 A Girl’s Sympathy

2932 A Girl’s Sympathy

It is said that when Mrs. Booth, who even more than her husband, was the life of the Salvation Army, was a little girl, running along the road with hoop and stick, she saw a prisoner dragged away by a constable to the lockup. A mob was hooting at the unfortunate culprit, and his utter loneliness appealed at once to her heart. It seemed to her that he had not a friend in the world. Quick as thought she sprang to his side and marched down the street with him, determined that he should know that there was one soul that felt for him whether he suffered for his own fault or that of another.

If you question this, consider the subject of President Trump: There is a full-court press on TV, radio (both AM and FM stations), regarding everything he does, says, or even of what people assume to be true of him… AND his wife…
The brutal responses toward:
Transgender people…
Legalized marijuana…
Oil pipeline…
Obamacare…
1st Amendment (Freedom of Speech)…
2nd Amendment (Right to Bear Arms)… or Gun Control
White Supremacy…
Black Lives Matter movement…
Police brutality…
Sadly, the common denominator is all of these issues is hate! Perhaps, hate mixed with fear of the unknown.
Incidentally, it used to be, that colleges and universities were places where people of various backgrounds would come together to learn, to grow, and to consider another’s ideas and views, all in an effort to gain a better understanding of life, people, circumstances, etc.
In fact, it used to be that colleges and universities were places where people of various backgrounds would come together to learn, grow, and challenge one another’s ideas and views.
The Liberal Arts degree was designed to offer a well-rounded education in history, science, music, math, government, literature, etc. Electives were factored in to allow a person to explore specific areas of interest even further.
But not everyone can afford to attend college, so their voices are not heard… or are they?
Enter Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and other media sites…
Now, people can say whatever they want without regard to how it may effect others.
You no longer have to face others when sharing your ideas.
I’m concerned, since even our brothers and sisters say things that are not coming from a Christian viewpoint, but rather have joined the ranks of haters, even people who use the Bible to incite others instead of loving people regardless of their views.
tells us that “Jesus was about thirty years old when He began his public ministry.”

2934 The Kind Bishop

In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo tells of Jean Valjean, whose only crime was the theft of a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving children. After serving nineteen years, he was released from the galleys. Unable to find work because he had been a convict, he came to the home of a good old bishop who kindly gave him his supper and a bed for the night.

Yielding to temptation he stole the bishop’s silver plates and slipped out, but was soon caught and returned. The kind bishop said, “Why, I gave them to him. And Jean, you forgot to take the candlesticks.” Jean was astounded at such kindness, and this brought about his salvation. A little deed of kindness can turn a sinner to the Saviour.

—Adapted

Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 2941 Kind Words and Deeds

2941 Kind Words And Deeds

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the flowers,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

Take care of your garden,

And keep out the weeds;

Fill it up with sunshine,

Kind words and kind deeds.

—Longfellow

Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 2951 The Clerk of Waldorf-Astoria

2951 The Clerk of Waldorf-Astoria

In the city of Philadelphia there was a little third-class hotel. Into it one night there came two tired elderly people. They went up to the night clerk and the husband pleadingly said, “Mister, please don’t tell us you don’t have a room. My wife and I have been all over the city looking for a place to stay. We did not know about the big conventions that are here. The hotels at which we usually stay are all full. We’re dead tired and it’s after mid night. Please don’t tell us you don’t have a place where we can sleep.”

The clerk looked at them a long moment and then answered, “Well, I don’t have a single room except my own. I work at night and sleep in the daytime. It’s not as nice as the other rooms, but it’s clean, and I’ll be happy for you to be my guests for tonight.”

The wife said, “God bless you, young man.”

The next morning at the breakfast table, the couple sent the waiter to tell the night clerk they wanted to see him on very important business. The night clerk went in, recognized the two people, sat down at the table and said he hoped they had had a good night’s sleep. They thanked him most sincerely. Then the husband astounded the clerk with this statement, “You are too fine a hotel man to stay in a hotel like this. How would you like for me to build a big, beautiful, luxurious hotel in the city of New York and make you general manager?”

The clerk didn’t know what to say. He thought there might be something wrong with their minds. He finally stammered, “It sounds wonderful.” His guest then introduced himself. “I’m John Jacob Astor.” So, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was built, and the night clerk became, in the years to follow, the best-known hotel man in the world.

In 1976, the 47-story Waldorf-Astoria in New York City served three-quarters of a million guests in its 1,900 rooms.

tells us that “Jesus was about thirty years old when He began his public ministry.”
Shortly after this, he was “led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where He was tempted...” (). He later attended the local Synagogue, where His message was rejected, and the crowd, so furious at Him, pushed Him to the edge of a cliff—no doubt, to end His life right then and there—but, He walked through the crowd, and left.
Jesus confronted evil spirits who possessed people; confronted peoples’ evil intentions; confronted peoples’ disrespect of who He was/is; confronted peoples’ wrong judgments of who He was/is and what He does.
He warned those who choose to follow Him that people would hate them too, would exclude them, mock them, and count them as evil.
What’s interesting, is that it’s on the tail-end of this kind of reception, that Jesus shared about loving your enemies.
He continues to share the love of the Father with those who would listen.

(NLT) “ 27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

I struggle with Washington drivers. My family would probably tell you that they outright anger me. People get on roads and drive like they have no place to go and no urgency to get there. Hwy 507 is where you can see the evidence of this mindset everyday. When the state legalized marijuana, I reason that this is the problem with why people drive so slow.

Passage

(NLT) “ 27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
2951 The Clerk of Waldorf-Astoria

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

In the city of Philadelphia there was a little third-class hotel. Into it one night there came two tired elderly people. They went up to the night clerk and the husband pleadingly said, “Mister, please don’t tell us you don’t have a room. My wife and I have been all over the city looking for a place to stay. We did not know about the big conventions that are here. The hotels at which we usually stay are all full. We’re dead tired and it’s after mid night. Please don’t tell us you don’t have a place where we can sleep.”

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. “

The clerk looked at them a long moment and then answered, “Well, I don’t have a single room except my own. I work at night and sleep in the daytime. It’s not as nice as the other rooms, but it’s clean, and I’ll be happy for you to be my guests for tonight.”
The wife said, “God bless you, young man.”
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
The next morning at the breakfast table, the couple sent the waiter to tell the night clerk they wanted to see him on very important business. The night clerk went in, recognized the two people, sat down at the table and said he hoped they had had a good night’s sleep. They thanked him most sincerely. Then the husband astounded the clerk with this statement, “You are too fine a hotel man to stay in a hotel like this. How would you like for me to build a big, beautiful, luxurious hotel in the city of New York and make you general manager?”
The clerk didn’t know what to say. He thought there might be something wrong with their minds. He finally stammered, “It sounds wonderful.” His guest then introduced himself. “I’m John Jacob Astor.” So, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was built, and the night clerk became, in the years to follow, the best-known hotel man in the world.
In 1976, the 47-story Waldorf-Astoria in New York City served three-quarters of a million guests in its 1,900 rooms.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (pp. 706–707). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.e 6: 27-36 (NLT) “

Prayer

How do you respond to those who oppose you?

(6:27a) Jesus said that we are to love our enemies.

Love means “to have a great affection or care for or loyalty towards” To have one’s heart desire the very best for another.
An enemy is simply one who opposes you; who is at war with you; who looks to do you harm
In other words, we are to have a great affection for those who look to do us harm.
Our first thought is probably along the lines of this being crazy talk
Our reasoning minds would think that this is nuts!
Yet, Jesus tells us to love our enemies
The love means “to have a great affection or care for or loyalty towards” To have one’s heart bent toward another.
Eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, ...
QUESTION: Why?
An enemy is simply one who opposes you; who is at war with you; who looks to do you harm
You must be compassionate [How?] just as your Father is compassionate.”
Simple put, God’s children are emulate the love the Father has for all people, regardless of their sin, all in hope, that people will commit themselves to Him through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross so that they can be saved and reconciled to God.
QUESTION: Why?
For one simple reason: God loves them in spite of their sin, as He loves you and me in spite of our sin.
You know, He loves us too, in spite of our sin.

CHALLENGE QUESTION: Do you love your enemies?

(6:27b) Jesus said to do good to those who hate you?

Good refers to doing something that is fitting or proper or right to do [and get this] in God’s eyes toward another
Hate means to dislike intensely, to detest, to hold in utter contempt, not wanting anything beneficial to come to another.
Jesus says that we are to do what’s best in God’s eyes for those who have no desire to see anything good come our way.
This is not easy to do, is it?
This is a great concept, until either you or someone you know is raped, kidnapped, fired for no good reason from their job, maimed, or killed needlessly.
Once one of these things happen to us, then it leaves the theoretical world of ideas, and one is forced to seriously consider Jesus’ counsel on how the Father’s children are to respond.
Once one of these things happens to us or someone we love, there is no going back. It is now woven into the very fabric of our lives.
We don’t like to think of things like this, but perhaps the reason you are going through what you are going through is not so much for you, but for others to see Jesus lived out in your life circumstances.
You say to trust Jesus. You say that I need to forgive. Now, show me how true this really is in your life now that it has happened to you.
(NLT) “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
Someone once said that, When someone wrongs us, we want justice, but when we wrong someone, we want mercy.
Jesus instructed His disciples to be people who offer mercy, compassion, and grace, instead of judgment, but it’s not easy to do, is it?

CHALLENGE QUESTION: How do you respond to those who want nothing but the worst for you?

(6:28a) Jesus said to bless those who curse you

Bless means “to invoke divine favor; to speak well of; to act kindly toward”
Curse means, inversely, “to invoke divine harm or evil upon;” to wish the worst of someone.
It parallels the idea of hate.
Once again, the picture here is that God’s children are to wish the best upon everyone, even while others are intent and hopeful that harm and disaster would come to us
This is a strange calling, isn’t it?

CHALLENGE QUESTION: Do you wish the best for those who wish you the most trouble, the most heartache, the most harm?

(6:28b) Jesus said that we are to pray for those who hurt us.

Pray means “to petition God” that He would grant them favor; help them; look out for their best interests.
Hurt means “to use foul language toward; to threaten abusively; to mistreat” another, such as disrespecting someone enough to slap them in their face (v.29)
Hurting includes: disrespecting someone enough to slap in the face (v.29); taking your coat away (v.29);
These things require a forward-thinking or end-game approach in interacting with people; it requires that God’s children think of eternity rather than the temporal life we live here on Earth.

CHALLENGE QUESTION: Do you pray for those who have hurt you?

So what?

Jesus wants His children to set a good example for others.
He wants people to discover that the hate that others have for His children is not deserved, but is clearly an unjust act, since His children have been kind to others in spite of how they have been treated.
He wants the unbelieving world to know that there is a distinct difference between the way people OF the world respond from those who are just IN it.
Next week, we enter into the Advent season where we talk about the coming Messiah / the birth of Jesus.
Once He grows up, He will face terrible opposition / rejection, the likes of which we know so little about.
There is a war going on for the souls of humanity.
There is no doubt about it.
People need to know that the life Jesus lived, and the redemption that He brought to those who put their faith in Him, is lived out in the lives of His followers and serve as examples to the rest of the world that God’s love for humanity is as real today as it was in Biblical days.

CHALLENGE QUESTION: Will you and I let mercy trump judgment or will we let judgment trump mercy?

The answer to this question will be seen in how we live our lives before one another and before the world.

Closing Prayer

With heads bowed and eyes closed, are there any here this morning who are really struggling with Jesus ‘teaching on love our enemies.
Perhaps, you have had terrible injustices leveled against you and it has worn you down.
Maybe, forgiveness has not yet filled your heart toward those who have mistreated you and judgment of them still flows through your veins.
Or, you have forgotten that eternity is what is hanging in the balance for those who do not know Jesus and you just needed to be reminded that this life we live is temporary, but what we do here, has eternal implications for us all.
Whatever the reason, if you would like me to pray for you, would you you just raise your hand right where you sit?
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