Focal passage: Luke 6:27-38
In 2005 a burglar faced a job-gone-wrong that nearly cost him his life. Police say a 29-year-old man attempted to break into a woman’s vehicle. While trying to break a window, the man cut a major artery on his wrist. He began to bleed profusely. Thinking quickly, he kicked-in the door of the woman’s home and told her to call 911.
When EMT workers arrived, the young man was nearly dead. Fortunately, they were able to revive him, and two days later he was released from the hospital and sent to a local jail. Speaking of the incident, one police officer said, “He’s lucky he broke into the home of someone who was willing to help him.”
Loving our enemies is easy to say, harder to practice. In the story, the woman showed compassion to someone trying to wrong her. Our “enemies” might look different. They might slander or gossip about us behind our backs. Perhaps they lie, insult or cheat. Regardless, Jesus’ command is clear.
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (vv. 27-28). The word “enemies” here refers to someone you are hostile toward and who is hostile toward you. One could imagine how difficult Jesus’ words would have been for his Jewish listeners who actually had to live among their enemies, the Romans.
While we may not be faced with foreign occupation, we are still called to show compassion to those who mistreat us. What does this look like? Jesus gives us some examples: turn the other cheek, give above and beyond, love those who don’t love you back, lend and don’t expect repayment and do not judge.
“But why?” one may ask. Because God did the same for us. Jesus made it clear that children of God look like their heavenly father. And our heavenly father is one of compassion and mercy (vv. 35-36).
Next time you’re faced with the difficult decision to love your enemy, remember the way that God loved you. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).