Luke 6: 27-38
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
As we have worked our way through this topic, we have established some things I hope we are all in agreement on
Kindness matters to God; He talks about it in His Word a lot
His Word tells us how to do it, and if we listen it will transform us
The norm today, in our society and culture, is NOT to behave nicely
The command is clear, the guidance is plain, yet we consistently reject these teachings and go our own way, which is to follow the culture into me-ism. One of my favorite writers, J. Vernon McGee had the following to say about this teaching of Jesus
What I am saying may sound revolutionary, and it is, but it is what Jesus Christ said, friend. There are those who tell me that they are following Jesus. They do not dare to follow Him. Read what He says in this chapter, and believe me, it will remove the cloak of hypocrisy and peel off the skin of any man
Ouch eh? On that note, let’s begin to break down what Jesus was teaching here, shall we?
One thing I got clear from reading and study on this passage, is that we don’t have a list of rules here that we are simply to follow by rote. This is not a punch list where if we get all the rules punched we win a prize. This guidance is to reflect the overall condition of our hearts. Our changed hearts produce changed actions. A next thing to keep in mind is that we can expect people to become angry with us; we can expect harsh words and even harsh action. If we use Jesus as our example, why on earth would we expect anything different?
So, we can expect to be sometimes not treated as nicely as perhaps we would like. Who are our enemies, anyway? Well, let’s look at who it’s not; our enemies are not: sinners, politicians, atheists, or other religions or faiths. Enemies are those who are directly trying to harm us or those in our circle of concern. That makes this teaching even tougher, doesn’t it? Well, we can take this further easily. We aren’t just to tolerate our enemies, or not retaliate against our enemies. We are to actually take steps to be NICE to them. Well, that’s pretty lousy, isn’t it?