Love Your Enemies?

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Contributed by Brian Shifflett, Worship Pastor of Image Church

Luke 6:27-31 – But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

I sometimes wonder if my life as a Christian looks any different from those who do not claim to follow Christ.  After all, it should!  The verses above are rather convicting when evaluating one’s own Christian walk, because let’s be honest, revenge is sweet!  However, Jesus calls his disciples to a higher standard when dealing with our enemies and those whom would hate us.  And yes, if you claim to follow Jesus and proclaim him as God, you will be hated at some point, in some way (Luke 6:22). 

Let’s look at verse 29, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also…” A strike on the cheek in this culture was viewed as an extreme insult.  The point of this example is that though believers will be subject to abuse, insults or taken advantage of, their reaction should be one full of God’s compassion and not of retaliation.  It is important to note that this verse is not meant to be a command for every circumstance but is an illustration of how love for one’s enemy should look.  It does not prohibit government, military or police force when necessary but, instead, deals with individual conduct.  Being compassionate and reacting differently than the world should be how this verse is properly understood.

The remaining part of the passage deals with generosity.  Those who have been extended much grace should be the most generous people in the world.  God calls us to give generously and cheerfully without expecting anything back in return (Luke 6:34-35).  It sounds crazy to a lot of people, but doing such things demonstrates that we are “sons of the Most High” and God is glorified (Luke 6:35).  Let’s all evaluate ourselves and see if the life we live looks different than the rest of the world.  Does it demonstrate God’s compassion and generosity? After all, it should!

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