Luke 6:27-36- “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
If you’ve been keeping up with the news in any form: television, radio, newspaper, social media, etc., you’ve no doubt seen hatred and animosity at every turn. Riots, protests, violence and hate speech seem to be the norm for some people. It’s heartbreaking when the reality of how shallow some people are in their opinions of others sets in.
As Christians, we should know this kind of behavior and rhetoric is entirely unacceptable in the eyes of our Savior. We are commanded to love everyone on this earth, as they are His children- precious in His sight. We talk as if this is very easy, and for the most part it probably is- but- seeing that we are human, there are times we have to make a conscious effort to keep our actions, words, and hearts in check.
When someone wrongs us, or wrongs someone we care about, it’s easy to “justify” our attitude towards said person. We feel we’ve been given the right to “write them off,” “put them in their place,” or “teach them a thing or two.” If our Example is to be Jesus Christ, (which it is), this ought not be how we handle situations. Our thoughts, comments, (or lack thereof) when driven by spite, are not Christ-like in the slightest. He tells us to love our enemies… do good to those who hate us… bless those that curse us… and pray for those that abuse us. THAT is the true spirit of Christ. Can you fathom such love? Such humility? It takes practice, if you will, for us to get our hearts right. We know we are to use wisdom, be selective in whom we place confidence and choose to spend a lot of time with for our own protection; still, we must be ever so careful to not use that knowledge to make excuses for our selfishness, greed, or frustrations. After all, how often do we need someone to overlook our shortcomings? How often does Christ do that for us?
My pastor’s wife shared something on this topic today on Facebook, and it was so beautifully spoken, I had to copy it here:
“There are people that we like better than others…there are people that are easy to forgive…others, not so much. But, the Word that I read and profess to believe doesn’t make allowances in terms of my obedience to love as He first loved me. He loved me when I was not easy to love, when I was inconvenient to love, when I didn’t deserve it, not waiting until He felt like it…He just loved me. When I am frustrating…when I am immature…when I am stubborn…He welcomes and embraces my sad, sorry self. He forgives me. He crowns my life with goodness. He removes my guilt. He removes the stain of my sin and washes me in His blood, makes me whiter than snow. He covers me. He forgets forever, my failings. He calls me daughter. He lavishes me. He takes care of me. He provides for me. I have been and am loved. I WILL love whoever He places in my pathway along my journey home. Heaven. That’s where I’m going. It’s a place too big for small thinking and behavior. By His grace…”
I appreciate so much the truth and transparency exhibited in this post. Christ didn’t make me earn His love. He didn’t wait until I had everything together. When I failed at the same thing for the 10th time, He didn’t write me off and tell me He was done. He loves me unconditionally, and oh so deeply! He loves us all that way! And this is why He expects us to do the same for each other. We don’t know what others are facing, or what they’ve been through… what makes them hard or cruel. While rudeness and targeted hurt is never something that is expected to be excused, two wrongs don’t make a right. We are still to love! This world is in desperate need of His kind today… Find someone to show that to today and everyday.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for loving me unconditionally, for blessing me when I do not deserve it, and for gently correcting me even when it takes me forever to listen. You are so patient with me, and I pray that You help me show that same love and patience with all those I encounter. I love You, Lord. Amen.