by David Chadwick To finish this week’s principles on how to have courage in culture, here is another truth: Love your enemies. We know we must decide beforehand what we believe, we must know the truth, we must speak the truth in love, and we must expect resistance. But we also must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us when this resistance occurs (Matthew 5:44). Jesus modeled agape love – unconditional love – because he knew how needed that would be in a culture that knows nothing about true love. A culture that only knows performance based acceptance. To continue to stand with a heart of flesh and not a heart of stone, we must understand how to love unconditionally, expecting nothing in return. A culture that does not believe in absolute truth and God’s immutable grace will resist the message of Jesus. And when you speak the truth to this kind of culture, even in love, a godless culture will often be at enmity with you. They will try to cancel you, intimidate you, and silence your voice. Jesus knew all of this would happen, which is why he said to love your enemies. To pray for those who would hurt us. To not respond to evil with evil, but to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). I would like to think that Jesus’s command to love our enemies is especially true when living in a Babylonian culture as a follower of Jesus. I truly believe unconditional love is still the strongest force in the universe. It still has the power to make an enemy a friend – even while living in Babylon. Daniel did just that. He pursued those who wanted to kill him with love. And this love allowed him to rise in influence. Look at his relationship with Nebuchadnezzar throughout the book of Daniel. It is a beautiful testimony to how God can use one young boy’s decision to stand courageous throughout his life to influence an entire nation! If God did it once, he can do it again! If God did it for Daniel, he can do it for you.
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