By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
In Luke 6, we find Jesus has chosen his twelve disciples (Luke 6:13-16). After Jesus chose His twelve, he started to heal the sick and remove the unclean spirits. He then moved onto what is generally referred to as the Beatitudes and the Woes. In them, Jesus tells us what is required to be blessed; as well as what is required to be of sorrow and woe. It is a blessing to be hated, excluded, and reviled in the name of the Lord (Luke 6:22). It is woeful to be liked by everyone and to be satisfied with the joys of the world. Jesus wants us to know we can find blessings in our suffering if we are not concerned with earthly satisfaction. Understanding this, Jesus then felt it important to explain how we should treat those who hate, exclude, and revile us.
Luke 6:27-31 (NKJV): “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
Jesus expects His followers to treat everyone with love and forgiveness. By describing them as “enemies”, one can conclude they have not shown any remorse for their mistreatment of us. At a young we were taught to apologize for our misdeeds, which indeed we should. However, if someone does not apologize, we are not entitled to treat him or her any differently.
Luke 6:32-36 (NKJV): “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
To be a resident of the world, you only have to love those who love you. If you want to be a child of the Most High God, you have to behave like the Most High God. God shows mercy and kindness to the “unthankful and evil” (Luke 6:35). Christians are held to a higher standard and are expected to be benevolent to those who wrong us. We need to consider, (1) what benefit is it to only treat those who honor us with honor; (2) what level of appreciation is it for us to only love those who shower us with kindness and affection; and (3) how forgiving is someone who requires remorse from the person before they can forgive them? Jesus makes it clear our actions are to be merciful and full of love, independent of their behavior.