READING: Matthew 5-7, Luke 6:20-49; 11:1-13
“But love your enemies.”
God turns the world’s idea of love upside down. Just listen to Jesus’ words, and the contrast is quite apparent: “Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. . . . But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return” (Luke 6:27-28, 35). Jesus rightly points out that we often love only those who love us, do good to those who treat us well, and lend to those who will give something back to us – but which of us is willing to give fully of ourselves while expecting nothing in return?
The whole picture makes little sense. Who is his right mind would love those who hate him, do good to those who harm him, and lend to those who will just keep taking more? Even as I write those words, I cannot think of many people who quickly and willingly offer the other cheek after being slapped (Luke 6:29). The people I can think of, though, are those who walk fully with Jesus – and that’s the point. Those with a redeemed mind will indeed respond that way.
After all, that’s who God is: “For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil” (Luke 6:35). I’m thankful, for I can be both.
- Reach out and be kind to someone today who has wounded you. Be gracious even as God is gracious to you.
- If you can’t do that, ask God to change your heart.
PRAYER: “Lord, make me gracious toward others—especially those who bother me.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 8:5-13, 11:1-30; Luke 7