The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, May 13, 2022 comes to us from Matheus Claus of Jakarta, Indonesia
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 "When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 'Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.' 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. Luke 10:1-12 NIV
“Being Jesus’ Disciples”
The memory of three churches in Surabaya being bombed in the middle of Sunday services in 2018 is still clear in my mind. It was a devastating moment, especially for Christians in Indonesia. Many people were injured or killed, and we hope that such an event will never happen again. Being a Christian is not always easy. Even Jesus said in the scripture that he sends us like lambs into the midst of wolves.
It can be a dangerous task to follow Christ. Nevertheless, Jesus told us that he will be with us as we keep the faith and follow him. Jesus told us to love our enemies. Even when people hate, suppress, or persecute us, we should never hold grudges. In fact, we should seek others’ well-being, pray to God on their behalf, and help them. For we are all the children of our Father in heaven, and Christ’s love lives in us through the Holy Spirit.
Of course, this is one of Jesus’ most difficult commandments. Forgiving those who have hurt or harmed us, or worse, someone we love, is incredibly difficult. I believe that it takes strength from God to accomplish that forgiveness. God can help us let go of the anger and hatred toward another, thus healing our own souls. Also, it is important to remember that forgiveness does NOT mean allowing bad or abusive behavior to continue.
In light of recent events in history, I believe that, even more difficult than forgiving individuals who have harmed us, is forgiving leaders who have led violent, deadly, and aggressive attacks that have harmed large numbers of other people. I cannot even begin to make peace with this commandment. So, I pray to God for direction, strength, and peace as I confront my anger about all of the violence that seems to have invaded God’s world around us.
Heavenly Father, give us the strength and courage to follow Christ, to share the good news, and to love our enemies. We pray the prayer Jesus taught us, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins’ for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 11:2-4, KJV). Amen.
Christians Suffering Persecution.
Thought for the Day:
Following Christ is not easy, but the Spirit always accompanies us.