September 12, 2013
But I say to you who listen:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…
Love your enemies, do what is good, and lend expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most high.
For HE is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.
Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Luke 6:27-28, 35-36
What a powerful statement of the love and mercy of God! I think generally most of us can accept the idea that God is gracious to the people who love Him and try to serve Him, but the ones who hate God? The ones who do evil…can God really be gracious to them while they are actively spitting in His face?
The answer is yes: He can be, and He is. And thank heavens! Because the Scripture tells us that at some time, ALL of us are among those who hate God (Ephesians 2:3). If He were not gracious to those who were ungrateful, then you would never receive grace. But He gives grace not on the basis of our actions. He gives grace in the face of our rebellion! Consider what the above passage tells us about God:
He gives grace to the ungrateful and evil.
He does good to those who hate Him.
He blesses those who curse Him.
He is merciful.
What an extraordinary God! But here comes the gut-clenching part: He commands us to do likewise. BUT NOT ALONE. Let’s go ahead and clear that up: this is not a labor you can grit your teeth and accomplish by your own willpower.
To accomplish this, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to abide in us, and as we soak ourselves in God’s presence, He put His grace within us and shapes us more and more into His image. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to labor at this. You will. But first and foremost you need the grace of God to mirror the actions of God.
So…that person who is incredibly ungrateful for all you’ve done? Give him/her grace.
That person who hates you? Do good to them out of a genuine heart.
That person who slanders you and hopes terrible things will happen to you? Bless them, and pray for their blessing.
Your Father is merciful. Submit to His hand and act in obedience with His character.