Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Are you wearing your green? Do you know anything about St. Patrick? I didn’t, so I did a little research and learned at the age of 16 he was captured and taken from Wales to Ireland where he was a slave for 6 years before escaping. After he joined the church, he returned to Ireland as a missionary. He became the Irish patron saint before he died on March 17, 461.
Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” and St. Patrick lived this verse out all the days of his life. He traveled back to the area where he was held prisoner and lived out Isaiah 61:1-3, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
What about you? How do you respond to those who hurt you? Do you give them what you think they deserve or do you turn the other cheek? Jesus said we are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us [Luke 6:27]. Luke 6:35 goes on to say, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
Anyone can be kind to people who are kind to them. It takes a surrendered person to love their enemies. It takes one who is completely yielded to the Lord who allows the Holy Spirit to work in and through them to set aside personal desires for vengeance and display love instead. We are never more Christ like than when we demonstrate love to those who hate us.
When St. Patrick’s Day rolls around again, I hope you’ll remember the way he lived a surrendered life of service to those who held him in bondage and it will spur you on to do likewise. Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”