About a week ago we came home from my son’s play. It had been a great night. Opa was in town. We saw the play which was really well done. Our son did great. Then, we went and celebrated together. We got Opa settled in and came home to our car pretty seriously vandalized.
Everybody was upset. My wife was upset because we had just paid it off and now we have to get it repaired or replaced. “Why would someone do this?” Our kids were upset and scared. They all had trouble going to sleep. It was even more troubling when the police officer filing the report asked, “Does someone hate you? Do you have some enemies? It looks like someone was pretty ticked off at you. They really went after your car. Hard.”
I told him, “I hope not. I’m a pastor. I’m supposed to make friends for Jesus, not enemies.”
So, there we were at about midnight, troubled because of what had happened, wondering about our next step with our car needs to be, and upset because someone seems to have come after us in some sort of vindictive way.
At the same, I was thinking about the text we’ll study this coming Sunday (Matthew 5:38-48) where Jesus urges us to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile to show love to people. His words to “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” were ringing in my ears and heart. And I asked, “How should I respond? What should the response of my heart be because of what these people or this person has done? What action should I take? What should I do if I find out or learn ‘who done it.’”
Jesus' answer is a hard one to swallow at moments like this: “Therefore, be perfect like your heavenly Father is perfect.” “What would your Father do?” is a question that Jesus would have me ask at moments like these. #WWFD (Not "What would the Fonze do?" but "What would your Father do?")
We’ve all been in moments like these where something happened or someone came after us as an enemy would. Our gut reaction is often vindictive and hateful. It’s spiteful and mean. And we justified in these emotions and responses. But Jesus shocks us by urging a very different response to those who come after us. #WWFD. “What would your Father do?” is a question that Jesus would have us ask at moments like these.
This Sunday, we’re going to finish up our look at Matthew 5 and learn the depth of the saying from Jesus, “Therefore, be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Lord, help me to live and love like you in any and every situation.