Have you ever noticed that when you read some things in the Bible they just seem a little backwards or upside down to our usual thinking? Today’s Scripture is one of those that we really have to think about in order for it to make sense, and I’ll warn you, it is not always easy to do. Think about what you do and how you feel when someone is mean to you or says hateful things about you. We naturally want to “get back” at them or get revenge somehow to get even with them for what they did or said. But in Luke 6: 17-38, Jesus says that is not what we should do at all. And furthermore, Jesus tells us we should not judge others but forgive them. I don’t know about you, but those are not my first thoughts when someone is not nice to me, but I know, it should be now.
Jesus was preaching to the people when He said, “But I say to you people who are listening to me, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Ask God to bless the people who ask for bad things to happen to you. Pray for the people who are mean to you. Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy. Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. Don’t condemn others, and you will not be condemned. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give to others, and you will receive.” (Selected verses) That’s very to the point isn’t it? Jesus tells us exactly what He expects us to do — no ifs, ands, or buts.
If we only like and are nice to people who like us, then that is easy; everybody does that, He says. What is more difficult is to be kind to them, pray for them, not judge them, and forgive them. Jesus says if we can do that we are acting like Him and will be rewarded. Those are reasons enough to do what Jesus wants, but doing these things also shows our love for Jesus and is a good example to others of our Christian belief. Then it gives us a chance to make those enemies into our friends.
Pray that when somebody does any of these things to you that you will be able to remember what Jesus wants you to do. You will not only be showing your Christianity but also happier in the end yourself.
Let’s pray. Father God, help us to always remember the wise words that You tell us because we know it is the right thing to do. We should never want to be mean just because someone is mean to us. We must always treat others as we want to be treated ourselves. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.