27 “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.”
Character! Integrity! Christ-Like Behavior! Christians cannot help but see the character of Christ in this passage. These principles go against everything the world teaches and reinforces. Just turn on the news, scroll through any web search engine, flip through the pages of your local newspaper…what do you see? Headings that may look something like, “The Latest News on the London Bombings,” “Attack on Christianity in America,” “The Latest Road Rage Incident Caught on Camera,” “Teenager Bullied for Years Ends His Life,” “Hate Crimes Increasing in Our Communities Across the Nation.” Dear friends, we are surrounded by hate and retaliation. The root – SIN! Jesus demonstrated a different way, and He has called all followers to align with His principles equaling love, mercy, grace, patience, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, hope, and faith.
We have heard the phrase, “Hatred breeds hatred!” Christ teaches that love, even for those who hate us, shows the character of Christ which brings God glory. We are here to serve God almighty in whatever capacity prescribed. When faced with difficult situations such as persecution, hate, and abuse, we are always charged to emulate the actions and words of Christ – LOVE! We were taught even as little children that we must, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This golden rule is a fundamental Christian principle.
Sadly, even Christians spew hate to their fellow believers and non-believers alike. Luke reminds us further in this chapter that we also reap what we sow. If we are unforgiving, judgmental, and hateful to those around us: peers, strangers, believers, non-believers, etc., then the Word makes it very clear that we open ourselves up to judgement ourselves. Not only do we smear the name of Jesus, we ruin our witness and invite torment.
Question: Do you identify with Christ’s principles on love and forgiveness even to those who hate and curse you? Do you find that your character and flesh identify with the world and you often engage in retaliation and spew hatred? Ask God the cleanse you from your sins and serve Him with gladness.