Luke 6 (NIV)
Love for Enemies
27″But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But 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. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
My heart is hurting today. The world is a dark and wicked place and if we let it-it can overtake us in no time. It can consume our thoughts, our words, our actions and our deeds. The world can take something pure and beautiful and make it into something filthy and rotten-leaving behind a putrid odor. We are all here by the grace of God- whether we believe it or not-it’s true. God holds the earth on it’s axis, the oceans in thier places and he keeps the sky from falling. I don’t know how he does it, I just know that He does it. I know that God is the same today as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow. I also know that as Christians- we are called to be different. Just as the disciples were called to live, look and act differently than the rest of the world- we are called to do the same. We are called to love and pray for our enemies. We are called to build our lives on the teaching of Jesus Christ. We are called to live a life of higher standards-one that sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are called to do the right thing. We are called to deny ourselves. We are called to fall in love with God and to live a life of love for everyone we meet. Not who we pick and choose-but who God places in our path at just the right time. The irritable neighbor, the alcoholic who can’t get quit drinking, the boss who is testy and tense, the husband who has had a bad day, the mother who has been up all night with her fussy baby and needs rest, the whining child who wants to get her way all the time, the person who just cut you off in traffic, the rude waitress, the messed up teenager, the homeless man with his hand out, you, me. We all need love, mercy and grace and this is only possible through the sacrificial RADICAL love of Jesus Christ. God gave up his one and only Son so we could have this beautiful gift of grace-free! It is one thing that no one can take away from us.
Here is a question from the IVP bible commentary on Luke 6: How often do we pray for those who hate the church? The very question shows how radically different Jesus’ love is from the culture’s view of love. This is “tough love” because it is tough on the believer who loves. It is “radical love” because it calls for denying oneself and being continually exposed to abuse. It is a love not of power, manipulation or arrangement but of service and meekness.
Service- a contribution to to the welfare of others, a helpful act, serving others, a servant. ( webster’s) JESUS!
Meekness-enduring injury with patience and without resentment. ( webster’s) JESUS!
God has challenged me to live everyday for Him and I am going to die doing just that. I may not always get it right 100% of the time- no one can. But I’m going to give it my best. God requires our best and when we know better-he expects us to do better. In the past few weeks I feel as if a testing of my “spiritual muscle” has been taking place. By that I mean I am being stretched by the opportunities that are placed in front of me. Last year I would not have seen these things as opportunities-but today I do. Most of them are uncomfortable but I always come away with a blessing from each one. With each opportunity I am being prepared for the next one. I have no idea what God’s plan is but I know that whatever it is-it is GOOD! I also know that I am here today because someone, many people, have extended the hands of grace and love to me. Sometimes it was tough love. Tough love means that the person giving it loved me enough to keep loving me, to keep trying, to never give up. Just like Christ does with each one of us. I must continue on the same path-the path that leads to grace, mercy and truth, and yes, even tough love. I must never give up on anyone- nor should you! That path is where we will find our almighty Creator. He will be right there with both arms out- waiting- saying, ” run to me my child…RUN! I’ll catch you! I promise!”
Father, may I humbly as that you work your amazing love through me to everyone I meet-may the tough love, grace and mercy of your hands flow through mine in all that I do-may I stand firm like Nehemiah on that wall- refusing to come down for anything or anyone. Fill me Lord. Use me Lord. Mold me Lord. I am yours Lord.
Forever and ever,