That You Might Be Children of Your Father In Heaven1
Brian and Kathy Emmet
“But I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-48).
If we keep reading through Matthew’s Gospel, if we keep following Jesus, we will discover that he lived out everything he speaks about in the Sermon on the Mount.
We are listening to our King, who both announces and activates his kingdom. As we listen to Jesus, it becomes clearer and clearer that his ways are not our ways! He seems to get things upside down and backwards … but maybe it’s really us and our world that is inverted and gets things wrong.
Who are we? Whose are we? Do we belong to our world of power and pride, of fear and despair, of injustice and violence, of self-seeking and self-protecting? Or could we belong to another? Is it possible that we are not who we think we are, not who our world tells us we are, but that we can become who God says we are: beloved daughters, beloved sons, beloved children of God, loving citizens of the Kingdom of Love?
Being, then doing: What we do each day emerges from who we think we are. Is my primary identity based on my family, nation, racial/ethnic group? On my education, social status and position, wealth and power? Am I what some scientists say I am, merely a biological robot or an evolutionarily successful beast? Or what the advertisers want me to be, a consumer?
Or am I who God says I am, and who King Jesus has made me to be through his life, death and resurrection: because of Christ, a beloved child of God?
“Pay attention,” Jesus is saying to us. “Look how your Father treats people: he graciously sends sunlight and rainfall upon everyone – not because they are worthy, but because your Father is good. All the good you enjoy, whatever goodness, beauty and truth arrive on your doorstep every day, have not come because you are powerful or deserving; they come because the world belongs to God, not to you, and God is good, even to those who are not.”
The world actually does not work the way we think it does, the way we have been taught that it does. It works the way God works. And as we listen to Jesus, as we learn to follow our King, we become the kind of people whose lives represent what our Father in heaven is really like.
God’s kingdom doesn’t work by buying and selling, but by giving and receiving. What does your good Father want to give you today—and what might it look like for you to receive it?
What might it look like for you to share it?