24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 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[b] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 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. 35 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. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 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.”
Love for Enemies
“You seem to have an enemy” I heard in a T.V. program recently. It was someone who gosiped about a person and then threatened them. How do we respond? Some of us love through grited teeth but I just think Jesus takes us deeper than that. The truth is that because Jesus is who he says he is, no-one else really poses a threat. If my friend calls me a name, it rolls off my back because I have no fear of the affect on me or my friends. It just is simply not true and Christ makes me secure. If my friend harms me, the perspective of a future life with Jesus makes all of this life temporary. My citizenship is primarily in a land without borders, the Kingdom of God. There is no way it can be invaded and taken away.
From a position of security comes the strength to love unconditionally. It is infuriating to the bully that he affects us so little that we can give him hugs and laugh at his mean jokes. It annihilates the point of an invasion if I can just as easily move elsewhere and start a new life wherever God leads.
The issues of what God calls us to do may be complex. I do believe in military service and patriotism. However, the freedom from my country or my military service defining me, still stands.
Jesus help me to identify my enemies and love them.
- Who experiences woe?
- Who would be the enemies of a disciple of Jesus?
- How does Jesus model his response?
- Who are your enemies on a personal and a national scale?
- How do you love them?