“We must daily learn to humanize those that we perceive to be most against us.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 20, 2022
But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 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. Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. Luke 6:27-30, CSB
In Luke 6, Jesus presents a vision of selfless love that is frankly hard to wrap one’s head around. His understanding of love is unwaveringly committed to the good of the other, even when the other seeks your harm or destruction. Though they may see you as an enemy or obstacle to be overcome, you and I are never to cultivate this same disposition, instead in vulnerability choosing the way of love, even in painful and sacrificial ways.
If you read the daily news, there is always something that encourages you to double down on your own self-preservation, focusing fully on how this or that development impacts you or those you love. Another day, another dire economic prediction. Stocks continue to tumble. Wars continue to rage. Long-held cultural norms and values are dismissed or reimagined in confusing and disorienting ways. In these moments, the natural inclination is to double down on our own needs, circling the wagons and keeping outside threats at a distance.
However, if we are to truly take Christ’s words to heart, we must daily learn to humanize those that we perceive to be most against us. The politician who stands for everything you oppose? Speak blessing over them. The “friend” that is a constant source of pain and anxiety for your adolescent child? Go to them in love. The family member who is perpetually needing and always draining you of your time and resources? Offer even more of yourself.
These are hard words to hear, for they cut to the heart of our own sense of entitlement and personal need. Yet this is the way of the cross, dying to ourselves so that we may discover the way that truly leads to life. And as difficult as it surely is, in these moments of faithfulness, large and small, we learn to find our life and true source of identity, not in what we own or the power we possess, but in the fact that we are known and loved by our Lord. Only then can we bless those who curse us and give to everyone who asks.
Father, remind us that we are safe and secure in your kingdom, and therefore do not need to fear anyone or anything in this world, instead blessing our enemies and seeking their good, in your name. Amen.
Is there a person in your life that is a source of regular anger, frustration, or disappointment? Instead of allowing your frustration to boil over, how can you instead take time today to pray blessings over them and move toward them in love?
Proverbs 24:17; Luke 23:34; 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Matt Boswell & Matt Papa: Psalm 150 (Praise the Lord)
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