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Choosing Love over Rights

Read: Matthew 5:38-48

We talk a lot about rights these days. Yet the attention given to human entitlements hasn’t brought about corporate or personal freedom. Instead, most people are prisoners of jealousy (you have greater rights than I do!), greed (I deserve more!), or bitterness (my rights have been violated!).

Instead of focusing on the privileges due us, we should take the biblical perspective of loving enemies and forgiving persecutors (Matthew 5:44). Believers lay down their rights so they can take up the cause of a holy kingdom. That doesn’t mean that we let people trample on us. Rather, we offer a proper response according to biblical principles. In short, believers should be more concerned about showing God’s love to those who do wrong than about demanding their rights.

Maybe you’re thinking, But he doesn’t know how I’ve been mistreated. Indeed I do not. But what I do know is how Jesus Christ, our example, reacted to terrible abuse. He was betrayed by His friends, persecuted by His people, condemned by His peers, and crucified for our sins. Yet He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).

Before assuming that Jesus’ capacity for forgiveness and love is out of reach for mere human beings, remember: His Spirit dwells in believers. We can choose to give away our rights and let God’s love work through us.

Luke 6:29 says to turn the other cheek and give up more than is asked because expressing love outweighs exerting our rights. You can’t lose when you show others the boundless care of the Lord. You gain His blessing, and, hopefully, someone will be saved because of your example.

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