Luke 6:27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
This is an extremely challenging passage don’t you think? I’m something of a news junky, which is a hard thing to be these days since lots of news is bad news. But what makes things worse is our hostile posture toward people who think differently than we do. And I’m not just pointing fingers at others since I do the same thing sometimes.
The phrase that gets my attention today is “love your enemies”. Man. That’s a tough one. But Jesus showed us how to do this. “Love” here isn’t about warm feelings, but rather a willingness to treat others with dignity and respect. To serve them, returning good for evil. This is what Jesus did when he refused to reject sinners but befriended them instead. And by his authentic care for them turned them toward God the Father.
It’s interesting that hostility rarely changes an enemy, but love can. Who do you need to love today? Lord let it be so. Amen.