Listening or Not

[Jesus said,]“But I say to you who are listening,

  • love your enemies.
  • Do good to those who hate you,
  • bless those who curse you,
  • pray for those who are cruel to you.
  • If anyone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other cheek, too.
  • If someone takes your coat, do not stop him from taking your shirt.
  • Give to everyone who asks you,
  • and when someone takes something that is yours, don’t ask for it back.
  • Do to others what you would want them to do to you.
  • If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them.”          Luke 6:27-32 (NCV, my format and emphasis)

Here is one of those passages that if I was Thomas Jefferson I would rip out and pretend it wasn’t really Jesus saying this. If I was Mark Twain I would include it in the list of passages I wish I didn’t understand! Am I really listening? Because if I am listening, then I have no reason not to obey!

What are my enemies? If I am like some who are posting on Facebook and various blogs, that would be President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney! “Holy Spirit, shine your light inside my heart and reveal Your Truth.” I need the Holy Spirit because I can justify my feelings for somebody that has hurt me or attacked my children. Jesus doesn’t say “love except …”. And He, beaten and tortured forgave those who were nailing Him to a cross – including me!

“…do good…bless…and pray…” When I think of someone and begin to pray for them, I weep. I remember how Jesus laid down on a cross – for me. I was not a ‘good’ person by anyone’s definition.

But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.         Romans 5:8 (NCV)

“…allow them to slap you…steal from you…and then give some more…” Do I see any way to wiggle out of what Jesus says? And if my begins to think of a way, then there is Jesus’ example as He stands quietly in front of Pilate. And Jesus didn’t stop His “giving” to me when He left the tomb. He gives every day. He blesses me every day with every breath, every beautiful cloud, every loving look from my family, … I could go on and on. “So, Jody, bless others just as you have been blessed.”

And then Jesus knocks whatever last leg I am trying to stand on to avoid doing what He says by telling me: “If you just love people who love you and are nice to you – how are people going to see Me working in you? You aren’t doing any more than the sinners who don’t have Me!” Ouch!

And then I see with Kingdom eyes what this is all about. It isn’t about me having the strength to be obedient. It’s about people seeing Jesus not me. It’s about people praising what Jesus has done in me. How He has made me into this person who can turn her cheek and give more and love people who aren’t lovable.

Where You Lead Me sung by MercyMe

 

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