“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27-28
I guess we are going to cover some of the hard prayers this week. Yesterday we talked about when Jesus told the disciples who were in the garden with Him to “watch and pray” and we realized that this was a story for our hearts as well as for Peter and the other disciples hearts. We must pray in order to overcome our weaknesses. Well, now today may be covering one of my greatest weaknesses! To love my enemy, to do good to those who hate me, to speak good words about those who don’t speak good words about me and to pray for them? Really Lord, is this really what you expect of me?
We also covered yesterday that all scripture is God breathed and useful for reproach and profitable for teaching so yes I am sure that Jesus means for it to teach me and not just for someone else.
Look at this verse, first line, “I say to you who hear” that is all of us who are followers of Christ. If we are a follower of Christ we have to take all of His words not just the ones that we don’t mind applying to us. Not just the Love your neighbor part, that part is easy, well unless you have a very unlovable neighbor who could really be called an enemy. Jesus is not telling us here if we can, or if we so desire. He is telling us to Love our enemies. Yes, even those people who are particularly nasty to you yet you don’t even know why.
And then it’s not just so much to say we love them we are supposed to do good to them. “Do good to those who hate you” really Lord? But what if I do good to them and they don’t accept it and they continue to act like an enemy to me? I don’t see Him giving me a way out because His next line is “bless those who curse you”! Oh Lord you have got to be kidding me I am really supposed to speak good things about those unlovable people who not only don’t like me but they speak ill things of me? They are not working on loving me, why should I have to work on loving them?
And then it gets really hard, “pray for those who abuse you” or “mistreat you” (NIV) or “spitefully use you” (NKJV) But Lord, I don’t want to pray for those who are ugly to me. I don’t want you to bless them. That’s my humanity speaking again. My human fleshly spirit sure wants to carry around the hurt when others have mistreated me. But if I am striving to be a Christian woman who loves Jesus with all of her heart then I have to follow the commands of my Savior. And that means, yes, even when I feel like I have an enemy I am supposed to extend love to them. I am not responsible for their actions I am only responsible for mine.
You see Jesus tells us in verse 32
“If you love those who love you what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” Luke 6:32
Loving the people who love us is not hard to do. Jesus is calling us to the hard stuff and that is to pray for everyone, not just the people we like or we love. Jesus is telling us to bless those unlovable people, to speak good words about them. My Mama always said if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. But Jesus says bless them, that means to speak good about them. And He says to do good to them. And while we are at it, I think we need to remember yesterday’s prayer and to pray to overcome our weaknesses in this regard, our very humanity at holding grudges and the not loving.
The good news is that Jesus does end this command with a blessing to us.
“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 is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35
When you extend love, blessing and kindness to the unlovely, ungrateful and ugly, you have to learn to expect nothing in return from them. But you can know that your Father in heaven sees it and the reward you receive from Him will be greater than any you can receive from your enemy. Don’t expect them to turn around, pray for them but don’t expect it back from them. But know that you will receive a blessing from your Father and that you will be a son or daughter of the Most High! What greater reward is there than that!