Those Who Hate You

Luke 6:27-31 (NRSV)

[Jesus said,] "I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you."


If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.
-- Exodus 23:5 (NIV)


"DO good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27) is one of the most difficult principles of the Christian faith. I can pray for someone who does not like me, but performing an act of kindness forces me to rely on God's Spirit and strength.

I undercut my intention to do good by wondering, "What if my kindness is rebuffed?" or "What if the person dislikes me more?" Asking, "What if I disobey God?" brings me back to the challenge at hand.

I say something kind to the person. I offer to lend her a book I've heard her say she wants to read. I offer a cup of coffee when I could have avoided her. I help when I could have simply ignored the need. Usually doing good is a simple act that I would do joyfully for a friend. But little deeds become big acts of faith when I do them for someone who dislikes me.

Jesus wants us to deal with others as he has dealt with us. Christ gave his life for us when we were alienated from him. We show God's love by extending kindness to those who are alienated from us.

Prayer: God, show us how to demonstrate your love by doing good to those who hate us. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Being kind to those who dislike us reflects the character of God.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Someone who dislikes me