Sunday Devotional: Do good to those who hate you

Luke 6:27-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus never said being His follower would be easy.

In fact, He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” –Matthew 16:24

For me, the passage from Luke 6 may be the most difficult of all. We are told to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and actually pray for those who mistreat us.

How preposterous is that!

Doing all that goes against our every impulse. It certainly is entirely contrary to the Old Testament‘s injunction to exact vengeance in kind: “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exodus 21:24-25)

Good grief. Why should we be so nice to our enemies?

Two reasons:

  1. “Do to others as you would have them do to you”: The Golden Rule of treating others as we would wish to be treated, and not treating others in ways that we would not want to be treated — a maxim found in not just Christianity, but in the world’s major religions and every ethical tradition.
  2. “For He himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
    Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”: A reminder to us when we are puffed up with righteous indignation and every cell of our body is bent on vengeful retaliation, that we aren’t so wonderful ourselves. God does not retaliate when we sin and hurt Him, but loves us in spite of ourselves. We should try and do likewise to those who hurt and injure us.

Is that too tall an order? — that we, imperfect and fallen creatures, should behave more like God?

Don’t we owe it to Him to at least try?

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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LophattDr. EowynLanaSteven BroilesAuntie Lulu Recent comment authors
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Alma
Member
Alma

And with Your Spirit, amén. I’ve made the mistake to give so much wanting to get back as much, and all I have received has been deceit, so I pick up the pieces and refrain from trust.

TrailDust
Admin

Thank you Dr. Eowyn. That is such an important piece of advice. The Lord tied the effectiveness of our faith directly to our practice of forgiveness. And “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” is the critical connection to our walk with the Father. And yet, with our awful politicians I often forget these lessons, and as a result, my prayers become weak. So, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, I forgive you for the sake of our Lord’s good Name. As much as I can stir up my soul to generosity, I forgive you, and… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
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Auntie Lulu

TD . . . . Thank you for mentioning both Pelosi and Schumer . . . of all the difficult things to do, loving them and forgiving them for what would appear to be traitorous activity in order that they get and retail more voters . . . this is monumentally difficult. Here is where we have to put our hand in the hand of Our Lord and Savior, and follow his teachings blindly. As a non-perfect person, I would want to be judged in the least harsh terms possible, so I guess I know exactly what it is that… Read more »

Alma
Member
Alma

Auntie Lulu, you are so forgiving it makes your heart big. I leave the forgiving in God’s hands, and for those that caused hurt I can only say May God have mercy on you.

Steven Broiles
Member

I could not understand Our Lord’s words when I was younger, and I cannot understand them totally now. But, suffice it to say, my enemies and tormentors and I both share the same fallen human nature. We both have the same hopes and dreams and aspirations, whether we’re able to consummate them or not. I think Our Lord is talking about agape love here. “Love one another as I have loved you.” In other words, love without expecting repayment. Why? A passenger told me many years ago, “There are two kinds of people in life, terminals and channels.” He went… Read more »

Lana
Guest
Lana

Well this is certainly the one I find the most difficult too. I do believe that we are all sinners, and it blocks our connection with God when we harbor unforgiveness and hate. I am very quick to forgive except in one set of people. The politicians. Why is it so hard? Because I think in so many instances, it is not a question of weakness or error on their parts, but out and out pure evil. How does one forgive pure evil; like a psychopath who relishes killing and hurting people? Or as we know, many of our leaders… Read more »

Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

This ability must be prayed for. It comes from the Holy Spirit, it is not something man has the power to do. Bearing grudges only harms us, not the object of our hatred. Their justice will come from a higher source than us.

Steven Broiles
Member

That’s right: The Christian life cannot, in human terms, be lived without Grace. The Christian life described in the Gospels CANNOT be lived without real Divine Grace. We have to be “plugged in” to God by daily prayer, Mass, etc. That’s my understanding of it.