My life alongside God's word, volume 3.
The practical “loving of your enemy” stands a good chance of stopping violence. By it you show the difference that being a Christian makes to your everyday life.
Our Lord Jesus teaches a revolutionary way of living in the following collection of His sayings. What follows is our Lord Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples, as recorded by Luke 6:27-38.
He is telling us what He wants for us:
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If 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. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to other (people) as you would have them do to you”.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And 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. 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 sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”.
So, for our Lord Jesus, “Loving your enemy” and “doing good to people who hate you” (or appear to hate you) is at the heart of the Christian gospel. It was while we were still opposing God, disliking Him very much or at best largely ignoring Him, that our Lord Jesus freely gave His own perfect human life on the cross as a price for our salvation.
Our Lord Jesus tells those who choose to follow Him through life, ten ways to treat people who try to harm them, not picking and choosing one or two ways, but rather doing all ten:
1. Love them, Luke 6:27, 35.
2. Do good to them, vs27, 35.
3. Bless them, vs28.
4. Pray for them, vs28.
5. Give to them, vs30, 38.
6. Put their rights before yours, vs31.
7. Be merciful to them, vs36.
8. Do not judge them, vs37.
9. Do not condemn them, vs37.
10. Forgive them, vs37.
Yes, this is difficult to do.
In fact, it is almost impossible.
But Christians are called to pick up and carry their crosses, to follow their Lord, Luke 9:23.
Let’s do it, now.
Loving enemies and doing good to those who hate reflects exactly what God did for us. “While we were sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us”, Romans 5:6,8.
To love our enemies means to reflect the nature of God, who loved the world despite our rebellion, John 3:16. Just as Christ’s remarkable act of self-sacrificial love produced reconciliation between God and human beings, so our self-sacrificial love and service to others, in the power of the (Holy) Spirit, can break the cycle of hate and violence and produce authentic reconciliation”.