religious hatred

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. [Luke 6:22-23 NIV]

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [Matthew 5:10-11 NIV]

I have to admit that I cannot relate to being persecuted.
I am not really sure that I know what it means to be hated.
Much less hated or persecuted for my faith in God.

Still, the attacks of 9/11 brought home the idea that some religious folks do hate.
Honestly, I cannot relate to this sort of hate.
Yet I do remember the arrogant way that I once viewed non-Christians.

In reality, we often believe that our religion(s) are better than others.
Sometimes theology can be the greatest stumbling block to loving humility.
Sadly, our prideful behavior does not endear us to those of other religions.

Perhaps our greatest challenge is to love those religious folks who hate us.
To pray for those who persecute and torture those who God loves.
Interceding in prayer that those who hate would be won over by love.

Lastly, these verses remind us of our need to endure the hatred of others.
To pray for those who speak ill of us and wish us harm.
To bless those who are blind to the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Lord Jesus, help us to show your love to those who are held captive by hate.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

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