To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.
Love vs. Justice?
The above is a Jesus quote. It’s in Luke. Even though I’ve heard these words numerous times, I read through this the other day thinking, “This isn’t how I remember this quote.” It sounds Jesus-y, so I guess it didn’t just now jump into my Bible.
While taking time to ponder the passage I, of course, checked Facebook. I viewed many of my friends, many of them Christians, calling for action. Someone is giving them a hard time. Someone slapped them in the face with their new policies, thoughts or opinions. They are offended. Someone needs to do something!
There’s a time and a place for justice. There’s a time and place to love our enemies. Which is now?
For the full passage/context go here: Luke 6
Verses quoted are Luke 26-38. Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
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