Saturday, April 9, 2016

Luke 6:27-28

Luke 6:27-28
But I say to you – the ones who are listening, “Love the ones hostile to you.  Do good to the ones who hate you.  Bless the ones who curse you.  Pray for the ones who abuse you.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

I think that it is really important to notice that Jesus specifically clarifies the recipients of this message.  Jesus is talking to the ones who are listening.  One a simple level, this has to be true.  How could Jesus talk to anyone unless they are listening to Him?  However, I don’t think Jesus’ point is quite so simple.  Jesus is making a point about our attitude towards Him.  We need to be actively listening.  Jesus can speak to us all day long, but we need to be listening.  How will we actually hear what Jesus says unless we pay attention to what He is saying?

What does it fell like t you to listen to God?  How is this different than listening to each other?  Why is it important to not just hear, but to listen?

Second Thought:

Jesus gives us another chiasm here in this teaching.  Jesus starts and ends with those who act against us.  Jesus speaks about those who are hostile to us and those who abuse us.  You will notice something within this teaching.  Regarding those who are physically aggressive towards us, Jesus tells us to respond with emotion.  We are to love and pray for these people.  Jesus doesn’t say that we have to be in their presence.  Jesus doesn’t say that we have to be a doormat under their presence.  Jesus says that we must think of them with love and pray for them.  In other words, Jesus is concerned about our attitude under persecution.  Jesus wants us to return persecution with good will, not ill will.  Remember, even Jesus on the cross asked for the Father to forgive those who crucified Him.

Is it easy or difficult for you to love those who would treat you poorly?  How do you usually respond to persecution?

Third Thought:

In the middle of these teachings about those who would intend physical harm, Jesus gives us two teachings about those who harbor malice against us in their hearts.  In one case, these people are less dangerous.  They don’t want to physically hurt us.  However, in a different way of thinking about it these people are far more dangerous to us.  While they may not intend to harm us, they do desire to see us fall, stumble, be humiliated, find failure, and many other things.  Such people might intentionally work to thwart our actions – even those actions we do for God!  This is why Jesus tells us that a physical response from us is mandated.  We can’t just simply love them from afar in our heart.  We must actively find ways to change their attitude towards us.  We must do good to those who hate us.  We must speak blessings upon those who curse us.  Only y actively demonstrating love can we change the heart that desire ill towards us.

How good are you at showing love to those who desire to thwart you or make your life more difficult?  Why is it important for us to actively work towards those who hate us?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 6:29-31
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