Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Conquer Evil by Doing Good.

Luke 6:27-36 NLT  
   27 But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
   32 If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
   35  Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Broadening our discussion of the last couple of days about doing good to enemies, let's focus in on what it means to "do good. We read in scripture about Jesus doing good.  We read about us doing as he did. We've seen that one such good we must do is to love those who we consider enemies. That good comes because if we do 'good' to them then we can no longer treat them as an enemy but as a friend. Then we make a unilateral decision to change that person's status from enemy into friend. It doesn't matter whether that person reciprocates or not, our call is yet to treat them as we would any other friend. When I was a teacher and administrator for young teen age kids, who used to fuss to me about other kids not being their friend, the Lord gave me a saying that I shared with them. It became so well known that the students would stop me before I would say it when they would complain about a non-friend. "Yeah, I know Mr. E. they would say."  "To have a friend you have to BE a friend." It worked.

So loving our enemies, and doing good to those who have done harm to us, is certainly a kind of 'good thing' that only God's Spirit can empower within us to do. Jesus had more to say about this. If we are hit, we should offer our face up to be hit again. If we are hurt, we should pray for the one hurting us. If someone demands our property we should offer it up as a gift and offer more yet. When things are taken, we should not pursue the effort to retrieve them. Let them go. Instead of lending money when we are asked, we should just give it away as we are guided by God to do so.

Jesus wrapped it all up in verse 35 by pointing out that when we engage is this style of responses to mistreatment we will be 'acting as children of The Most High.'  These are truly supernatural ways to live. If you choose to do so, you can live that way today. It starts by you asking God to empower and equip you to live this way. Ready?

Your servant in Christ

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