Verse of the Day Devotion: Luke 6:27-28
“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 mistreat you.” – Luke 6:27-28
This is probably one of the most difficult requirements Jesus gave to His disciples, and ultimately us who are His modern-day disciples. He tells us in many places to love others, but here He specifically says to love our enemies. Matthew records it in his gospel as follows, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. It is so easy for us to hate those who hate us or those who do us harm or steal from us. Or we may not hate them but will have no desire to do any good to and for them. However, He requires us to do much more. He says we are to bless those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat us. We are not to think badly of them, but to pray that God will turn their hearts to Himself and be willing to be used by Him for this purpose.
The attitude we are to have is not one of anger or hatred. God loves everyone and desires all to be saved. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. And this is the main reason He desires us to love our enemies. Both to bring salvation to the lost and to bring correction to the saved who struggle in sin and think badly of others. In fact, in the next verse he goes further. “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.” Luke 6:29. We are to be patient under injuries that are being put upon us and benevolent toward the unthankful. Matthew adds the following in his version. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matthew 5:40-41. The basic idea here is that we are not to return evil for evil, but if possible, show your love by going beyond their demands.
He then again takes it a step further. “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.” Luke 6:30. Whatever sense we put on the Lord’s precepts, not by force, but by consent, having either lent them, or sold them to him: for if they were taken away by force, the person so taking them was to be deemed a thief and a robber, and to be treated as such; but one that takes them by agreement, and is not able to make a return of them, or to give a valuable consideration for them, of such an one ask them not again: do not exact or demand them, but give him a release, as the law requires. This law is found in Deuteronomy 15:1-2, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed.” Deuteronomy 15:1-2. I know this is a part of the Jewish Law, however the idea has also been told by Jesus to His disciples.
Jesus then continues this idea with the following. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.” Luke 6:32-34. Jesus is saying here if we only love those who love us, do good to those who do us good, or only lend to those we expect to have it returned, how different are we from what the world does. Our love for others should go far beyond what the world expresses.
He then concludes as follows. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36. He lays it out clearly. We are to be merciful to all just as God the Father is merciful. We are to be kind to ungrateful and evil people just as He is. What is more important, getting our way or letting God have His way? He desires us to be a light in the darkness, shining out to the world the truth of the gospel and the love and salvation God has for them. We may be wronged or taken advantage of but look what lies ahead in the new heaven and earth. Really, there is no comparison.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.