We all have people we enjoy spending time with. We all have people we are comfortable being around. Then there are the folks that don’t sit well with us, the people that we really don’t care to be around. We have learned many things through this winter study, but this hits us right at home, don’t be something you are not. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
At the track we have those folks we long to hang out with. With the Icebreaker a few weeks away you can see the evidence of this. Take a ride out to the track and look around the parking lot. You will see campsites marked off with various different methods. Not just one campsite, several areas big enough for several campers. Folks they want to hang out with and enjoy the weekend.
Think about this thought, when you need some advice who do you reach out to? When you need to talk it over with someone, you go to someone you like. You don’t go to the guy who put you in the wall last week. You seek out a friend, not an enemy. We want to be around folks that we enjoy being around.
This helps explain why we don’t think too highly of our enemies. We would rather see something bad happen to them. We would like to see them get what we think they deserve. What goes around comes around; it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Sometimes we even try to manipulate the situation to bring this about. We all feel we have justified reasons to act that way.
Truth is they deserve better than we think. The fact is we should be honest and loving. Our actions should agree with the belief we have in God. People should be able to expect that we, as Christians, will give them the right guidance.
Hypocrite! That is what is said when we act different than we should. That is not the way Christ expects us to act. He expects more from us, more than we sometimes are willing to give. Take a look at this passage and we can start to understand what Jesus is talking about.
Matthew 5:43- 6:3; “You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
You see we are called to be different. We are called to love not only those we like, but those we don’t care for. You might ask why. The answer is simple, God values each person the same. Our performance doesn’t affect our value to God. What sets Christians apart from the rest of creation is that we should care about our enemies as much as we do our friends. To do this requires that we look past their shortcomings, forgive them when they need to be and reach out to them when they need help. And do so without wanting to be acknowledged for it. Not easy things for us to do, but they are the things that Christ expects from us.
Jesus helps us understand an important principle, God Knows! We think we can hide things from God and we will be alright. Not going to happen, God knows. We think we can but the fact is that nothing is hidden from God. In each one of our lives there are things we would rather God didn’t know. They are called sin, missing the mark. Let me help you, go to God right now and ask for forgiveness. Let God remove the burden of your sin and restore your relationship with Him. Let’s make every effort to live in a way that will honor God.
We find it comforting and encouraging hearing others tell us how good we are. We like it when people recognize what we have said and done. We need a certain bit of that, but we cannot let it become the motivation for what we do. Too many times we tell people what they want to hear or at least what we think they want to hear, instead of the truth because we want the positive and affirming reaction.
What needs to be changed in our lives to allow us to reach out to those we don’t see eye to eye with? What do we need to do to show the love of Christ to those we do not really care for? Only you can answer that question. Take a look at your life, the people close to you, the people you don’t care for and try to change the way you view them. Try to change the way you see people. Remember that God values each one of us the same. Remember that Christ died for each of us.
Jesus said don’t be motivated by what man says or how they respond. If you are you will receive your reward from them. Instead be motivated to please God and then your reward will come from heaven.
Let me ask you, who can give greater gifts, man or God? I think we all would agree that the creator of the universe, the one who knitted you together in your mother’s womb. The one who set the stars in place, the one who has the hairs on your head counted; has greater gifts to give. Then why do we settle for second best? We need to remember who we serve. We need to remember who paid the price for our salvation. We need to remember whose blood bought us out of Satan’s hand. We need to remember…
John 3:16-17; “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
We have covered many topics over the last few weeks and I am sure there are some questions. If you have questions share them. If they would benefit everyone I’ll share them here, without names, if you prefer. That way we can learn from each other. Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.