“But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” – Luke 6:27-31
There is a great joy that comes when we are nice to others. When I am able to give to someone in need or perform a kind deed that blesses another person, it makes me feel good. Sadly, we are living in difficult times. In the past month, we have experienced job losses, we have seen oil prices drop, and we have a strange virus that is turning our world upside down. So much is out of our control. These difficult times can really test our patience and our kindness. It is not as easy to be kind, especially when others around us have short tempers too.
There is a challenging teaching of Jesus, from the Gospel of Luke, that tells us, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” This is a demanding teaching! Jesus is asking his followers to be kind, no matter how the other person treats us and no matter how we feel.
This scripture from Luke’s Gospel reminds me that kindness is not just for those people that I like and enjoy being around. Jesus reminds us that our calling to be kind, to love one another, is a calling to love all people. We are to care for those who so often seem unlovable, unapproachable, even our enemies.
Loving our neighbor is an intentional act, based on God’s love for us, and our desire to share that love with the world. Our love for others and our acts of kindness are not based on the other person who is receiving our love and kindness, but rather our love is motivated by the love of God in our own hearts. Being kind to our enemies is no easy task, but God’s gift of love and kindness is truly a gift for the whole world. When we share with even those who seem to be our enemies, we can start to put this world right-side up.
– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship