“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” Matthew 5:43-46 Today’s Christian daily devotional
Our little Chicago bungalow is buried under an urban avalanche of about six feet of the fluffy snow.
Sometimes winter was so bad, we actually had it good. My little brother and I gloried in one of our favorite perks of living in the Midwest: Enjoying the infamous snow day!
“Alright you two. You’ve watched enough television. Now it’s time to shovel the driveway.” My mother pulled the couch pillow from my grasp, playfully smacking my brother with it.
I walked over to the window eying the twirling snowflakes that were adding to our already thickly coated drive.
“Seriously? It’s snowing so fast. As soon as we finish it, we’ll have to start over again.” My brother moaned looking out the window from behind me.
“Well, it’s a good thing you’re not as old as Smithy.” Mom threw us one of her infamous looks.
“What?! You want us to do that grumpy old man’s driveway, too?” Daniel huffed while pulling up his boots.
“No way, Mom. That’s taking it too far.” I don my winter coat and warmest gloves hoping that my curt answer would be the end of it.
“Where would you two be if I was only good to you when you deserved it?” Our sweet mother made a very good point.
“Alright.” We both grumbled in unison.
I wish I could say that I actually enjoyed serving our elderly neighbor. We tried our best to get the job done quickly and quietly. It would be a whole other kind of torture to have to face an awkward interaction with the most cantankerous man on the block.
Of course, as our luck would have it, just as Daniel and I were finishing Smithy’s driveway, the outside lights flickered on.
My heart pattered nervously. One could only guess what kind of mood old Smithy was in. If he was upset, we were both in for a major verbal beat-down.
The front door opened slowly. Daniel’s saucer-like eyes turned towards me. My legs were too tired to run through the heavy snow like I wanted to do. So, I stood there as frozen as my nose was.
“What’s going on out here?” Smithy clutched his housecoat while swatting the dust of snow that fell off the top of his door. One of his eyebrows hovered in the air like a giant question mark.
His voice was so frightening. Both of us just stood there holding our exhausted bodies up with our red shovels.
“No one told you kids to come over here.” Smithy rubbed his eyes to get a better look as the streetlights turned on.
“God loves you, Smithy.” Daniel piped up.
I couldn’t believe the words that came out of my little brother. He was smiling warmly at the hunched man standing in his doorway.
The wrinkles in Smithy’s forehead melted quickly; those hard eyes softened. He never uttered a word. He just stood there for a moment, eying us. He then turned to close his door while shaking his head, completely perplexed.
After that winter day, Smithy’s icy demeanor towards us “rascals” was noticeably different. Sometimes, he would wave. One time, he even smiled. From this life-changing childhood encounter, I learned that if you ever want to disarm an angry man, an act of selfless love truly is the answer.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Your Son commanded us to love. It sounds easy enough, until I read further down Matthew 5:43-46. Jesus emphasized that we are to love those who hurt us.
This challenge is not for the weak. It takes a person of strong character to go that extra mile.
Lord, as I think about Jesus and His gruesome death at the cross, I know that He didn’t just say nice words. He actually acted upon them. This is what gave His life power to make such an impact.
If I claim to be a child of God, I must have the mark of one. Love is the identifying mark of a Believer.
Lord, help me with this. I want to make an impact but I know I never will unless I allow my cold heart to love the un-loveable.
You did it and because you live inside of me, I know you will give me the power to do the same. In Jesus’ precious name, I allow you to change my heart. Amen.”
Thank you for reading today’s Christian daily devotional on verses: Matthew 5:43-46
Please check back and see what we have for you tomorrow!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan