“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 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. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 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. 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. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”Luke 6:27-38 ESV
These are some of Jesus’ hard sayings. They tell us to do good things contrary to our human nature. They’re like directions that only those who really love Jesus would ever want to follow.
It would have been really easy for the Gospel writers to try and water down these sayings of Jesus, don’t you think? (Though God’s Holy Spirit would have none of that, I presume.) I mean, “Love your enemies”? With centuries of bad blood between nations, tribes, and even among families, who’s interested in loving their enemy? How about I start with simply ignoring them first, and then maybe they’ll just die without me having to do anything rash.
Jesus’ words show, as Scripture so often does, how God’s ways are not our ways—not even close. God would have us give; we’d rather take. He would have us forgive; we’d rather punish. Though created in God’s image (see Genesis 1:26), our resemblance to our Maker quickly fades when the rubber hits the road. But Jesus gives you and me the opportunity to become a little more like Him, doesn’t He? And how refreshing that is—to be like Jesus—the One who gave His life for us so that we can have life eternal.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 ESV).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, make us like Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on February 17, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Being kind to an “enemy” is tough. Can you remember the last time you were?
2. Can you give some examples of Jesus doing the things He mentions above? What are they?
3. Is there a person in your life who truly resembles Jesus in his or her attitude? How so?