Today I would like to look again at Luke 6, verses 27-29a:“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also….”.
These are some of Jesus’ hardest instructions–love your enemies and do good to those who hate and hurt you. This is completely counterintuitive and unnatural. It goes against our natural instincts to defend ourselves and to retaliate.
In our current society, people who disagree with you about issues in life, especially political ones, are often regarded as “enemies”. This is unhealthy for our nation in general, and it is especially so for our spiritual lives. As followers of Christ, we cannot view others as enemies! We must learn to love them and to pray for them. While dying on the cross Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) His Spirit lives in you, and you must crucify your flesh and allow the Spirit to control your thoughts and actions.
Martin Luther King Jr. said this: “Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend.” Representative John Lewis, who recently went home to be with the Lord, related how those involved in the struggle for civil rights chose to see their struggle as one against an unjust system, not against people. “We wanted to win them over. We saw them as our brothers.” Wow, and amen!
This was spoken about people who were cursing them, beating them and jailing them. Most of us do not have hurdles nearly that high in loving our enemies. Let us take this to heart and seek the Lord.
Do not make the serious error of thinking of others “who need to hear this message”. You and I need to hear it. Are you offended with someone? Posting things online that dishonor Jesus? Avoiding someone because you simply do not like them? Entertaining mean thoughts towards another?
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them… 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 childrenof the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”(Luke 6:32&35, NIV). We are privileged to be called children of the Most High, and we must make every effort to live up to that high calling.
Father, I know these words of Jesus are true, but they daunt me. Yet today I choose to humble myself and repent of evil thoughts, nursing grudges, proud put downs and viewing anyone as an enemy. I want to be like You! Please create in me a clean heart that is kind to the ungrateful and loves those who do not love me. I need Your help. I want to be free. Thank you that what is impossible for me is possible with You. For Your mercy and transforming grace I am truly grateful. Amen.
You and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!