Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Vision (12/27/12): Love Your Enemies

We are entering the New Year at CRBC by continuing to work our way through Luke’s account of The Sermon in the Plain (Luke 6:17).  Last Sunday we meditated on Jesus’ command to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-36).  Here are some notes from the exposition of Luke 6:27-28:

Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

How are Christians to love their enemies? Jesus offers three practical commands:

First:  Do good to them which hate you (v. 27b).

Here Jesus urges the returning of bad actions with good deeds.  Note the extreme force of the language.  Jesus is not saying, “Do good to those who do good to you,” or “Do good to those who like you,” or even “Do good to those who mildly dislike you and do you no good,” but “Do good to those who hate (miseo) you and [the implication is] who do bad things to you.”   This is strong language.  Most of us have a hard enough time doing good to those who love us and who seek our good, much less to those who hate us and who act against us.

Second:  Bless (eulogeo) them that curse you (v. 28a).

Here Jesus urges the returning of bad words with good words.  In Biblical times there was much more a sense of the power of words.  To give someone a blessing was to convey spiritual and even material riches upon that person.  Consider Isaac’s blessing of Jacob.  Likewise, to offer someone a curse was a powerful detriment.  See Balaam’s effort to curse Israel.  It conveyed spiritual and material deprivation upon the person who was cursed.  Wrap your mind now around what Jesus is telling his disciples.  When men use their words to curse you, you are to respond by speaking words of blessing to them.

Third:  Pray for them which despitefully use you (v. 28b).

Here we move from actions (v. 27b), to words (v. 28a), to intercession (v. 28b).  The response of Christians to those who intercede with others to do them harm is to be that they are to intercede for them with the Father.   Have you ever discovered that someone who dislikes you has gone to someone else (a family member, a co-worker, a church member) for the purpose of speaking ill of you, spreading unfounded gossip, or maliciously attacking you?  Jesus is saying that when you hear someone has been interceding against you (despitefully using you) your response should be to fall on your knees and to intercede with the Father for the good of that person.  Pray for them.

I am not saying that this is easy to do.  Jesus never promised that following him would be easy, but he did promise that it would be the most rewarding thing we might ever do.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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