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Luke 6: 32 – 35

And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Fore even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

You can know that God did not choose me as the editor of His book because had he, this section of text would have been edited out. This is Jesus speaking and presumably he is teaching from a position of understanding and wisdom. Whatsmore, everything Jesus teaches us is for our own good even though sometimes it is hard to see the spiritual law behind the command.

I suppose everyone has a thorn in their flesh and thorns are usually people. The worst part about it is that the person Jesus is speaking about above is someone you know. I hope it is not your spouse but it likely is someone in your family or church. It is usually someone close to you. That is what makes this so difficult. You can’t get away from them. Maybe it is someone you work with. No matter what a jerk they are you still have to practice your grown up Christianity. That means that we have to love the jerks even though it is to us that they are being unkind. And guess what. You really don’t even get to call them jerks. Verse 36 says for us to be merciful and verse 37 says “Do not judge.” I have to make a judgment in order to conclude someone is a jerk. 

Did you see the part about loving our enemies? How about doing good to them? What!? Are you kidding me? Now I will tell you honestly, you may be a bigger person than I but I cannot love them in my own strength. I feel strong, negative feelings bubbling up from deep within me and I want to give voice to them and they are not nice. That is me in the natural. If I am going to love them and be nice to them then it is going to have to be through the love of God within me. I am going to assume most of you are like me, still struggling a little with the flesh when you are injured. This is where we have to dig deep. We have to fill up on the love of God. We need Jesus to step out front. 

The first thing is not to let the junk come out of your mouth. Your will can help you with that but it really requires the strength of the Lord. Then start praying for the offender. You aren’t going to want to but do it anyway. Jesus wants you to pray blessings over them. It is crazy. Here is the part that is so hard. You pray for God to bless them and because God honors your prayers, even though that person is not walking in the light, they get blessed. Then they act ugly to you and Jesus wants you to pray more for them. “Look Jesus, I was already gagging on the last blessing they got and you want me to bless them more? Did you not see and hear what they just did to me?” That is what my flesh is screaming but then I am reminded of Jesus’ walk on the earth. One of his beloved betrayed him. That had to hurt. Others disappointed him but through it all he remained the picture of grace, love and blessing. And then I am challenged. I say I want to walk in this earth as did Jesus. Well, here is my opportunity. What will I choose? Shall I rant and rave and tell of the injustice done me? Or will I pray? “Okay Lord, you win, I will pray for them but you must help me as it catches in my throat.”

I imagine everyone can relate to this scenario. We have all been through it, haven’t we? So, you pray but a half hour later you find yourself angry again. Stop right then and forgive them and pray for them. Then when it rises up in you again in an hour, forgive them again and pray again. This is a battle but we are not unwise children. We have the might and the wisdom of our Lord. We’ve got to tag him and let him jump in the ring for us. He has already defeated the enemy and given us power to win. Our victory is in Jesus and in taking his advice. If we will let him be our strength and humble our wills before him, we will come through these battles victoriously.

And don’t miss the end of the passage – great will be your reward and you will be honored as a child of God.

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