By: Lisa Wilmore
Scripture: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you ( Luke 6:27-31).
How do you feel about loving people who hate you? Are you intentional about the love you share with people who love you? Well, we must be intentional in loving those who hate us. So often, people will reveal their dislike of us as openly as possible. This hurt could cause resentment and hate in our hearts toward them.
Additionally, even when we deal with unjust and unfairness on our jobs, we would prefer to stay as far away from those individuals as possible. However, instead of harboring hatred in our hearts, we must “look for ways to intentionally bless our enemies”. Solomon writes in Proverbs, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee” (Proverbs 25: 21-22).
It is important to realize that hating people in the same manner as they hate us is not an option. We must allow God to handle the matters that are totally out of our control. The adage, “You are not responsible for how people treat you, but you are responsible for how you treat others” must be internalized and intentionally revealed in the lives of individuals who believe in Christ. He requires his people to return good for evil. In addition, we must trust him to be the judge of those who misuse his people.
In the noted text, he teaches his people to love their enemies. During this teachable moment, Jesus conveys to the Jews, who were oppressed by the Romans, to love them, do good to them, bless them and pray for them. The Jews despised their oppressors. Because of their hatred for them, they refused Jesus’ teachings and turned away from him. Are you willing to ignore Jesus’ teachings and continue to live a life of resentment toward those who “despitefully use you”. Or, are you willing to commit to a life where you intentionally look for ways to bless your enemies?