Click here for the text of the reflection
Luke 6:27–38 (NIV)
Love for Enemies
“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.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
What a powerful passage we have here! If you thought that being a Christian was going to be easy, think again. If you thought our religion and our God was essentially the same as all other religions with just a few variations, then you are mistaken.
The crowds gathered around Jesus because he had so much energy; he was saying things that were so different; and he was healing people. His whole life displayed an exuberant generosity with nothing spared.
Just one short line says it all ‘Even sinners love those who love them.’ This shows what a sea change Jesus was advocating. And it all stems from the unlimited generosity of God. He provides good things for all to enjoy, whether they deserve it or not. That is what He is like.
And if we wish to follow Jesus and become more like the image of God in which we are made, to demonstrate an attitude of heart and brightness of spirit whatever the world throws at us, then we have to turn our view of the world on its head. Think of the best thing that you could do for the worst person you know. Think of those to whom you wish to be nasty and instead lavish generosity upon them.
But how many people do you know who practise this? How many communities have you seen where these guidelines are the rule of life? We have had 2,000 years to get this right, so why are we stilln getting it so wrong. What can we do about it? What can you do about it?
I said it wasn’t easy; it seems to be against all human nature and instinct, but this is where we need to go if we are going to transform society and above all where we need to start is within our own churches. With Grace it is possible.
So we pray:
your Son came to save us
and bore our sins on the cross:
may we trust in your mercy and know your love,
rejoicing in the righteousness that is ours
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen