The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs. Matt is married to Pip and is one of the leaders at St Mary's. 

Luke 6:27-36 

Love for enemies

27 'But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 'If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 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. 35 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Reflection

This has to be the hardest commandment: love your enemies.

Do good to those who hate you.
When I think of those who mistreat 
me, I often think I have done well to not retaliate. I don't think anyone particularly enjoys conflict, but I especially prefer to avoid the fray where possible. Often I consider removing myself from the situation as a small win. But Jesus' command is to actually go further and treat well those who treat us badly.

Bless those who curse you

So our actions toward those opposed to us must be loving but too much our words. Blessing means to seek God's favour or to speak well of to God. Though we may prefer to rage and fume, Jesus calls us to an unnatural response.

Pray for those who mistreat you.

Ask God to change their lives for the better. Ask God that they would repent and live differently. I always think of Stephen in Acts 7 who like Jesus' prayer on the cross, prays to ask that God would forgive those who are stoning him to death. Courageous.

And that seems to be the heart of this commandment. To love in this way is to be like Jesus. To love our enemies is to exhibit the very character of God. How quickly we forget that in God's great mercy, while we were enemies, God loved us and sent his Son to die for us (Romans 5:6-11).

Are you out of relationship with someone?
In your neighbour driving you crazy?
Has a colleague stabbed you in the back?

Consider how you might do good and bless them together today. Pray for them asking the Holy Spirit for help (I think we need the Holy Spirit’s help when praying for our enemies).

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