We, as God’s children, acknowledge the Lord for all of His goodness and mercy toward us. God can work through us to tell others about His works throughout all generations. Do we sometimes get caught up in the cycles of trying harder to be good, failing, getting discouraged and giving no benefit of doubt concerning our forgiveness of others? How do prayers help us?
Let us read what Paul told the Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” How can we keep from giving in to temptations to hate others? In Matthew 5:44 Jesus tells us how to love our enemies by praying for those who mistreat us. Also in Luke 6 Jesus again tells us to love our enemies and to do what is good to those who hate us!
The apostle Paul struggled with being disappointed with himself. Why was it that he always seemed to have kept doing the things he wished he never did and did not do as he should have done? Paul did not understand his actions (Romans 7:15). In Romans 8, Paul tells us to focus on Jesus. We must undoubtedly depend on Him who shows us mercy and cooperate with the Spirit who changes us!
Honoring God and experiencing acts of forgiveness will allow us opportunities to escape entrapments of discouragement and to focus on the love of Jesus. We cannot do anything about hatred on our own strength. We must learn to lean on Him. In Philippians 2, Paul advises all of us to be humble and look for the interests of others. Let us not become selfish and feel superior which can divide relationships while humility can unite us since it is the quality of being one in spirit and of one mind (Philippians 2:2). We honor God also as we forgive and do what is best for others. Who was a great minister of reconciliation? Our own Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached about forgiving our enemies as he also quoted the words of Jesus in Matthew 5. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. later told us that “Hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.”
With God, the father and Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, there is no east or west, and in both of them no south or north. We only have one great fellowship of love in our whole world with these biblical teachings. How can we promote our spiritual health? Let us continue to pray for God’s help through Jesus Christ to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Serve and listen to others and pray for them daily. Follow Jesus with a new perspective on our worldly problems. Growth in the likeness of the Father and the Son honors them as we unselfishly encourage others!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.