Matthew 5:43-46 (NRSV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?   

Matthew 5:43-44 (NRSV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,   

DEVOTION – Barbara Barton (Texas)

Although I had been a schoolteacher at a rural school for a long time, one day I found myself in a predicament.  Part of the faculty thought the school board was right when they fired a member of the faculty.  But some, like me, felt he shouldn’t have been dismissed.  Battle lines were drawn, and people on both sides were on edge.  Many citizens of the community stopped talking to their old friends.  I dreaded going to work.

Then I began to read the Bible more and realized that God didn’t want us to take sides and to be angry with each other.  When I prayed that both groups would get along, I was amazed how my feelings changed.  Over a period of time, I found that I couldn’t remain angry at someone I was praying for.  So I prayed for all involved, especially those with whom I differed.  My concern spilled over until I wanted only the best for them.

As I continued to pray for the welfare of everybody involved, my tense feelings disappeared.  Peace came into my heart.  Soon my old friendships were alive once more.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Prayer can restore broken friendships.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us not get so caught up in differences of opinion that we forget to care for everybody involved.  Help us remember we are sisters and brothers, children of your family.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: CHURCHES STRUGGLING WITH CONFLICT

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