Scripture: Luke 6:12-20; 27-36, Luke 23:32-34
Jesus begins with the beatitudes, and then he jumps right in, ‘I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without any expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, as your father is merciful.’
He says it, and then on the cross he lives it, praying for those who are crucifying him, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’
The theory of enemy love sounds aspirational in the pews, it seems wonderful when you are looking down from the mountaintop. But it sounds different in practice, when you hear the victim praying for his victimizers. It’s different when you are looking up at a dying man, as he gasps for air on a cross and asks God to forgive his murderers.
When we look at the cross, we must see Jesus loving and praying for his enemies, using his last breaths to plead for their forgiveness. If we are, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ, then this is our way too. If we are one with Christ, we won’t just talk about enemy love, we won’t just agree with it–we will practice it.
Do you have enemies? Does the way you love Jesus empower you to love them? Or does your faith harden your heart against them?
‘To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.’ (Luke 6:27, The Message)
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