Wednesday Word 11.16.2016
Luke 6:27-36 New International Version (NIV)
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withholds your shirt from them.30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Jesus is hammering home to the chosen twelve and everyone else within earshot exactly how they are to transform not only their actions but their very way of thinking in order to behave as The Father requires. Turning the other cheek and blessing those who mistreat you is the polar opposite of what the Old Testament taught, “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”(Deuteronomy 19:21). In the Old Testament, the law dictated all righteous behavior. With the New Testament, God’s love has shone a new light on the law. If all mankind were to live in this Kingdom spirit, following these tenets that Jesus personified, just imagine! People would think before they acted, taking care as to the consequences of their actions and how they affect others. We would treat loved ones and strangers alike, with care, compassion and mercy – just as we would hope to be treated.
This attitude of mercy and forgiveness is simply put, but not so easy to adopt. If we are going to be followers of our Savior, then we need to implement this mindset. Our first reaction to “turn the other cheek” is that we are to become some kind of punching bag. I think it is more about breaking the escalating cycle of retaliation. Return kindness and mercy for injury. Return prayer for curses. I am not responsible for the actions of others, but I am accountable for my own. My mantra…respond not react. Jesus calls his disciples to respond with the mercy of The Father. Sometimes that can seem like a mighty tall order…something to pray about.
Your sister in Christ,