Seen on a Church Sign
Lettuce Be Kind- Let us be kind
Love Your Enemies
Luke 6: 27-38
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
In our last post we had made the observation that we are commanded to do more than just bear, or to tolerate our enemies; we are to actively be kind to them. How do we know this? Well, Jesus said, “love your enemies.” Since we know true Biblical love is love in action, that inherently means we have to take action, even towards our enemies, to put love into action. In other words, be kind to them. “Do good to them which hate you.”
We closed that post with the statement, “Well, that’s pretty lousy, isn’t it?” First, none of God’s direction is lousy, okay? That is NOT what I meant. I just meant that we really don’t want to be nice to people who hate us. We really don’t even want to tolerate them. What we want to go is get them back! So, it’s lousy from the standpoint that it goes contrary to everything we find in us naturally. But, that is the point isn’t it? We are not supposed to be our natural selves; we are supposed to be different selves upon our salvation.
We are new creatures right?
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
So, at this point we agree that: God tell us to do it, and we can do it through the power of the Holy Spirit because He has made us new creatures. Great, now how exactly can we be nice to our enemies?
Don’t retaliate. Turn the other cheek. If a man takes your shirt, offer him your coat. That is really pretty self evident, isn’t it? On, the other hand, it must not be that self evident, as God had to write it down for us. Okay, somebody calls you the biggest moron on the planet; does it really accomplish anything to prove they are actually the biggest?
Humanize your enemy. Dehumanizing an enemy is the easiest way for us to justify hating them. We hate ISIS, we hate homosexuals, we hate abortionists, and the list goes on and one. Guess what? Those people are NOT our enemies. God doesn’t hate them, so we don’t get to either. Does that mean I support terrorism, gay marriage, or abortion? Well, no, it does not. I still don’t get to hate the practitioners of those t hings.
On a more personal level, considering the human side of any attack on you might just diffuse the entire situation. Even though there is rarely a good reason to attack another, there might be a driving reason. Whether that reason be right or wrong, it may still be there. It’s not that hard. Has somebody gotten in your face for no reason? Ask them: Brother(or sister), what have I done to offend you? Notice I didn’t say ask them what their problem is.
Go out of your way, with purpose, to simply find something kind to do to one who hates you.
Boss got it in for you? Work harder
That lady at church turns up her nose and never speaks? Make sure you go out of your way to be friendly to her. Now, look, motivation matters here. There is a fellow at our church who has not spoken to me in eight years. I used to go out of my way to say hi and shake his hand. Then I realized I was doing it to bug him. That’s not what I mean here, okay?
Teacher at school have in in for you? Be a model student.
And on it goes, get it?
Next time: We share some great thoughts from readers on this subject.