Yesterday I kind of spaced. I started writing and then got distracted. I’ve got so many ideas and plans running through my mind and so much that I want to accomplish that I became overwhelmed and pulled back into my default which equals no post for yesterday. I really need to get organized and start writing ahead instead of procrastinating.
We live in a world that tells us that if someone doesn’t like us then we need to forget about them and dismiss them from our lives. If someone is to us or treats us badly, we are told that we justified in treating them just as badly. “An eye for an eye” and “revenge is sweet” is what we are told.
But Jesus teaches us a different way. He teaches us that we are to love those who hate us, but what does that look like and what does that really mean? For the answer let’s take a look at Luke 6:27-36.
- Doing Good to Those Who Hate You
Have you ever had someone dislike you so much that they seem to do everything in their power to make you miserable? Someone who would deliberately provoke you to make you angry or make you cry? How do you respond to those people? How do you love them?
Jesus taught that we are to do good to those people. Instead of reacting with anger and hate, we are to act with love. It is the opposite of how the world teaches us to react, and it can be difficult. When someone seeks do you harm, you seek do good to them instead. When someone spreads rumors and lies about you, you speak good about them. When someone slaps you, you turn the other cheek.
- Bless Those Who Curse You
I was standing in a classroom full of preschool children, and one of the mothers was standing in the doorway cursing me because her daughter had started using curse words at home. She didn’t see the irony in the fact that the very words that her daughter was using were the words that were coming out of her mouth at the time. She accused me of teaching them to her daughter.
I could have started cursing her back, but instead I stood there and let her talk. Oh, I tried to calm her down, but she wasn’t in the mood to listen. The preschool was in a church and the pastor’s office was across the hallway from my classroom. The pastor heard her and came to see what the problem was.
When you are in situations like that, it is easy to get angry and to react in the same way that the person is acting, cursing them back while they are cursing us.
But Jesus has said that we are to bless those that curse us.
- Pray for Those Who Abuse You
There are many different types of abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse. All of these types of abuses have devastating effects on the victims of the abuse, but what about the abusers? Many of them have been abused also. They are reacting out of their pain and grief and anger. We need to pray for those who abuse as well as those who are abused.
- Lend Expecting Nothing in Return
Have you ever loaned someone money or movies or books? Are you still waiting for them to return it? I am. I have loaned movies and books and they haven’t been returned. When I loaned them out though, I didn’t expect to get them back. When we loan things out, we should loan them without expecting them back or expecting anything in return.
- Be Merciful
Most of all we are to treat those who hate us with mercy. Mercy is undeserved and seeks to understand that nobody is perfect, that everyone is going to make mistakes and hurt us, that all of us have our own hurts that we are trying to heal from. Mercy forgives. Mercy heals. It won’t heal them, but it will heal us. Mercy is a part of love.
Loving those who are difficult to love isn’t something for the weak. It takes great strength to love those who hurt you, to pray for those who abuse you, and to show mercy where none is shown in return, but when we follow Christ, He teaches us that we are to do just that. The strength that we have to do this comes from our relationship with Christ.