This scripture is a tough one, so let’s dive right into it! There is also so much packed into this short passage, so read Luke 6:27-31 below.
“But I say to you who hear, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 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. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from the one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
These verses start out with a BANG! It starts by saying, I should do good to those who hate me! Wait a minute…I have to be nice to those who HATE me? He is not just saying that I don’t have to hate them back, refuse to retaliate and just ignore them; He is calling us to do GOOD things toward them. Seriously? Yes, seriously, but He doesn’t just stop there…
After He tells us to “do good to those who hate” us, then He tells us to “bless those who curse” us. A blessing is giving God’s favor to another person. But doesn’t it really feel much better for us to ask for God to bless or have favor on a person, rather than heap burning coals on their head? If we really think about it, I think our answer would almost always be “Yes.”
But wait…He is still not done yet…He asks us to pray for those who mistreat us. Pray for them that their attitude would change and they would repent from their sin. Okay, that might be a little easier.
Still He keeps going…if someone slaps you in the face, you should turn to them the other one! Okay, that might be one of the most radical things I have ever been asked to do. If someone slaps me in the face, the last thing I would want to do is turn to the other side and let them do it again! However, Jesus isn’t necessarily talking about a true slap in the face, but in Biblical days, a slap in the face was an act of insulting another person. This illustration is used to tell us if someone insults us, we should not retaliate or insult them back. It is basically saying, if someone insults you, just do not respond. Okay, now that it is broken down in that way, I think I can handle it a little better. Bite my tongue. Got it!
There is still more…He says if someone takes your clothes, give them more. We must give to others even if they are mistreating us. It is hard to give to people who mistreat us, but Jesus is telling us not only to give, but to give even more than what they take from you.
Then, He says give to everyone who asks, and if they take something from you, don’t ask for it back. How do I give to everyone who asks? This scriptures seems to say this, but when we cross reference it with other scriptures, we see that we are to give to those who ask, but not those who do not work for themselves. This passage also shows us to live above worldly standards, so when someone asks for something from you, we should not turn around and ask for something just because we have given something. We should place less value on possessions, so if someone asks for something from us, we would not be so concerned with getting them back.
One final thing these scriptures tell us is to do to others as you would want them to do to you. It’s much more than not doing something if we don’t want someone to do to us. We have to go beyond this thought and do nice things for others as opposed to simply refraining from doing negative things to them. You want to be treated nicely, right? Lovingly? You wouldn’t just settle for someone not treating you negatively, would you? You would want them to care for you and love you instead of just existing in your space not giving any niceness and love back to you. To take it a step further, we are called to make the first move. We cannot just sit back passively waiting for people to “do unto us”. We have to be proactive in doing to others.
This is what Jesus calls us to do-Love God & Love Others. So let’s get busy loving others by doing good to them, praying for others, biting our tongues, giving generously and showing an unmistakable Christ-like love.
God, thank you for loving me. Forgive me for not loving others the way I should. Pour out your love for others through me. Help me to give my love generously to others. Help me to pray for others even when I don’t want to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.