What only God can do in us
Reading: Luke 6:27-36
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.
If the previous passage marked a stark contrast between the children of God and those who lived imprisoned by the values and priorities of this world, this passage is a call to live Christianity in a radical way.
To be a Christian is, in terms of values, to go against the grain. The Lord tells us:
To him who hates you, love him. To him who wrongs you, treat him well. Pray for the one who speaks ill of you. Be kind to the one who hurts you and generous to the ungrateful.
Be what you would like others to be (loving, kind, generous, considerate, forgiving, etc.).
Living like everyone else is easy, giving back the good we receive is easy. But how do we react to the one who does us wrong? The answer, the example, is Jesus, the kind to the ungrateful and perverse (that’s where we all come in).
MEDITATE: Living in this way is only possible if the Holy Spirit tears out of us the roots of pride, selfishness and hatred that we have. This is a difficult and often painful process. Are we letting Him work in us?