Today, people say life is rough if you can only afford to live in an apartment. I say you're fortunate because you're that much closer to understanding the nature of God. People say life is rough if you can’t afford to go out to eat; I say you're lucky! The day will come when you’ll really be satisfied. People say it’s rough when you don’t make the team, don’t get a scholarship, or when you get hurt and can’t play; I say you’re blessed. A day is coming when none of that stuff is going to matter. When people bash on you, tease you, slander you, or drag you down, I say you're blessed. In fact, you should shout for joy, because the reward to come is greater than you can imagine. Remember, every person throughout history that has stood up for God has been treated this same way.
On the other hand, today we seem to say that you are fortunate if you have a big, fancy house. I say look out, especially if that house actually owns you. We say you're lucky if go to the fanciest restaurants and always order the most expensive thing; I say beware: that might not satisfy you forever. We say it's a big deal if everything comes easy to you, I say be careful. The day will come when it won't. When everyone loves you and likes all your posts, watch out. People only say that about people with nothing much to say.
So, if you're still listening now, those people who bash on you? Tease you? Are just generally jerks? Love those people. Go out of your way to do stuff for them. Pray for them. If someone wrongs you, says something to you or about you, you apologize to them. If they take something of yours, give it to them freely. Think about it: if they did that same thing for you, how would you feel about that?
If you think about it, is it really a big deal that you're nice to people who are nice to you? Isn't that just about what you get back in return? I mean, those jerky people are nice to their friends and family, aren't they? What would it look like to do something and not expect something in return? Doing a favor for someone who would never appreciate it or return it? What's the difference between a loan and a gift? What if we all gave our stuff freely instead of expecting it back? What would that look like? If you think the fact that you let people borrow your stuff makes you a "good guy"; even the jerks of the world give people loans if they're going to get it back. But loving your enemies? Giving stuff to them? Not expecting it back? That takes a whole different mentality, a whole different allegiance, a realization that the gift that really matters, the forgiveness from God, is the real example of giving freely.
Speaking about our enemies, what about the way you judge people, enemies and friends alike? What if you didn't judge anyone, didn't make comparisons at all? What if instead, you forgave? After all, hasn't God forgiven you more than you ever could? Think about it this way, can the blind lead the blind? If we are all judging, condemning, and comparing each other, how can we get anywhere? If you had a tree branch stuck in your eye, wouldn't it be ridiculous to complain about some sawdust in someone else's eye? Wouldn't it make more sense to focus on the tree branch first so you could see clearly and then help them with their sawdust?
Picture a tree. If a tree has rotten fruit, you don't blame the fruit, do you? If the tree is bad, the fruit would be bad too. However, you can't expect an orange tree to grow apples though, each tree grows the fruit it's supposed to, right? Like a tree, a good person will produce the good fruit their supposed to, just like a bad person will produce bad fruit.
Ironically, for some of us, we go to church, listen to a sermon every week, and then go back to living the exact same lives we always have. Doesn't that defeat the point? It's like if you were building a house. Imagine you built a solid foundation of steel and concrete, so whether the storm, rain, earthquake, whatever came, that building would not fall. But those that hear this stuff and don't do anything different, they are like building a house on sand, with no foundation. Any rain, flood, earthquake, anything would make the entire house collapse.
They who have ears, let them hear.