LET LOVE CHANGE EVERYTHING
Dear Father, thank you for your love for me. Where I fall short of loving others as I should, forgive me and make me more like Jesus.
Read LUKE 6:27-42
Love for Enemies
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 withhold 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.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Love, love changes everything/How you live and how you die…/ Love will never ever let you be the same.’* How does God’s love direct your living and shape your loving?
Jesus does not address everyone, but only his disciples (6:20)— those ‘who are listening’ (v 27), presumably with a readiness to obey. Jesus tells his disciples how to respond to those who, by their hostility and hatred, make the demanding lifestyle of discipleship even more difficult. Instead of being reactive and retaliatory, which only perpetuates hate cycles, his disciples must be proactive, accepting and absorbing pain—as Jesus himself did (Ephesians 2:14-16)—in order to break vicious cycles and initiate life-giving love cycles (vs 27–30). These are counter-cultural, counter-intuitive responses, making kingdom people distinctive (vs 32-35a).
Living and loving like this is costly and risky; ‘love changes everything,’ but also means that ‘pain is deeper, than before.’* Living like this is an investment in ‘treasures in heaven’ (Matthew 6:20) and the rewards are out of this world! As the song puts it, ‘Love will turn your world around, and that world will last forever’!* The ‘reward’ Jesus promised is not an abundance of possessions, power, or positions, but a growing relationship with and resemblance to our heavenly Father (vs 35,36).
“As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I am holy; you be holy’” (1 Peter 1:14-16, The Message).
Lord Jesus, you went to the cross to pay for the sins of those who put you there. Help me to express that kind of love for those I would consider unlovable; help me to forgive.
*‘Love Changes Everything,’ Charles Hart and Don Black, with Andrew Lloyd Webber 1989.
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