Friday, June 30 | Love Your Enemies
Read Luke 6:27–36
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 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. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others 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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
These words have to be some of Jesus’ hardest to hear. Those listening to Him must have thought, “He can’t possibly mean this!” No one naturally loves their enemies. Quite the opposite, in fact. We so much prefer to harbor a grudge, seek revenge, or perhaps on a good day, tolerate. But love, do good, bless, and pray? Our enemies? Surely Jesus didn’t mean that! And yet, His words couldn’t be clearer. We are to love our enemies. Indeed, Jesus goes so far as to point out that even sinners love those who love them back. Again, this doesn’t come naturally; it takes practice. Perhaps a first step is simply praying that God would bless one of your enemies. Of course, this might be a personal enemy or more of a global enemy. Remember Jesus’ prayer for those who were crucifying Him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
- Who came to mind as you read today’s passage? What would one step toward loving that particular person be?
- What resistance arises in you as you think about loving, blessing, doing good to, and praying for the person or group you identified above?
God, these words of Jesus are so hard to follow. Love my enemies? Those who hurt me, betray me, want harm for me? My heart needs help; it needs to grow and be transformed. Bring to mind the person I need to love and bless, and show me how. Give me the desire to do so. Grant me Your eyes so I can see beyond what they’ve done and to the person made in Your image. May I be obedient to follow in the way of Jesus. Amen.
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