This passage and those following in Luke 6 will always point us to holiness and be edifying to our walk with the Lord as we journey through this life with others. I will transparently admit a most certain confrontation is to be had when dealing with the human heart and this passage. Because of my pride, there is nothing simple about responding to the above verse nor the remaining chapter. I have painfully wrestled with it to the point that the Lord, in all His grace and mercy, has had to extract an unbelievably large and deeply implanted log from within my own eye (Luke 6:41-42). While I believe the log has been removed, I honestly admit there isn’t a day that goes by that I must not watch out for the temptation to face plant right back into that state of clouded vision. My spirit is willing, but my flesh so weak (Matthew 26:41). People issues can be hard, no doubt. Maybe you feel like at every turn you are offending someone or being offended.
When Jesus begins speaking he addresses those who have ears to hear. We need to approach this verse with a tender heart, humble and teachable, and an increased desire to respond to our Master. He asks of us to love our enemy and explains who that encompasses: haters, cursers, and those who mistreat you. Then Jesus tells us what to do: love, do good towards, bless, and pray for them. Really Lord? That is asking a lot! How can you call me to this high road when such hurt was inflicted?
Here is the fork in the road, friend; the place where we are called to be different than the world. Our answer is by His work on the cross. Jesus is the example of One who lived this out perfectly. He is not asking us to do something He Himself did not do. He did this on Calvary! Through the power of love for the Father and His redeeming love for His church, He sacrificially showed us real love for imperfect people; laying His life down for us while yet we were sinners (Romans 5:8). We too have been the ungrateful and evil (Luke 6:35) and He demonstrated mercy towards us. What then shall we say to that? Let the glorious weight of that sink in! When we look at the cross of our Lord, what He did for us while in such a state of unloveliness, deep in our sin, should cause us to pause and pause long. We cannot fathom the magnitude of His hurt. It is also difficult to grasp the magnitude of this kind of love, but to seek it is a must in our walk with Him. Oh, the power of this transforming love! In that thought alone let us draw near to the throne of grace and find help in time of need as you consider how to move forward (Hebrews 4:16).
What if you and I sit at the foot of that cross for just a moment together and through that lens begin to let Him do His work of offering a hope that will utterly transform your heart and mine and maybe in the most miraculous way, the heart of our enemies and those most difficult to love. Most importantly as His follower, we glorify Him by choosing to obey the way in which He has called us to live in this broken world. It is a narrow path indeed, but assuredly it is a road that leads to an abundant life.
He isn’t asking us to muster up our own strength to do this. Let us place our faith in His word in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” We weren’t meant to live the Christian life in our own strength at all. That is impossible and ignores our need for Christ’s work in us. Remember it is He who gives us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 1:3).
Sister, you have undoubtedly been mistreated, possibly rejected and felt the sting of hate. If I could sit with you now and hear your heart’s cry, I most certainly would empathize with you that your situation is currently or has been extremely trying and difficult. I am sorry that you have had this experience. Know this, the Lord does not delight in this suffering, but He can walk us through it if we will trust Him with the process.
To be fair and balanced, at one point or another we have, whether intentionally or unknowingly, been the facilitator of hurt to others. I for one know that my words and attitudes have been stumbling blocks in the lives of people I love or am an acquaintance to and the knowledge of that reminds me that no one on earth is untouched by this condition of the heart.
A few points of application here are: 1) Let’s start with genuine prayer about this issue. Whether you are dealing with the pain of conflict or need to ask the Lord to survey your own heart to uncover the way you have possibly inflicted pain upon another; invite Him into this area. 2) Let’s admit humbly we need His help in moving forward. Confess how challenging it feels to follow the instructions above concerning loving His way. And 3) Believe in the miracle of His redemptive work! I think that writing out some of the scriptures above and others that you hold dear in the way of wisdom and placing them around for reflection is a great plan of action to move forward.
Father, As I gaze upon the cross of Your Son, Jesus, I am in awe of that kind of love. It is not natural in any way. No, it is supernatural and beautiful and oh how I’ve fallen short of it! But I know you won’t leave me in this state. You have a plan of redemption and it IS your desire to change me from who I was to one who is more and more like your Son with each day until the day of completion arrives. Cover my sweet sisters in Christ with your power and peace to journey through your Word and to be transformed by its power. It is Your faithful promise to do so. Teach us this lesson of loving our neighbor. ~ Amen in Christ