Luke 6: 27 - 36

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill treat you.”

I’ve told the story of my very first Cadbury’s Cream Egg.  I was so chuffed with it and couldn’t wait to enjoy it at the morning break at school.  But there was a problem.  What if someone spied it and either wanted to have a bit or even have all of it?  I was in a quandary as to what I should do.  Should I take the risk and eat it or should I just keep it hidden away away in the pocket of my school trousers?  I decided to keep it hidden away.  It was a sweltering hot day and I kept my hand in my pocket to protect it.  It melted, of course, and ruined the pocket of my trousers.  That’s what happens when you try to keep something good to yourself!

When we hold back something of our love and compassion, welcome and acceptance from our enemies, those who have done us a bad turn or even despise us, are we not doing the complete opposite of what Jesus is suggesting in this passage?  When we turn our back on God, are we not relieved when he continues to walk by our side?  When we take him for granted and even ill treat him in a distinct lack of respect are, we not also relieved when he reinstates us?  When we do anything that would lead us to oppose God, almost like an enemy, are we not relieved when he gives us another chance?

We are quick to receive from God at times, but how quick are we to give to others?  How freely are we prepared to give to our enemies who have hurt, hated and ill treated us?  God is a generous God and his favour rests on the deserving and the underserving and some might even argue that there is not one of us totally deserving of his merciful generosity in the shape of forgiveness.  But, what has this got to do with loving our enemies?  It has everything to do with it!  Forgiving involves letting go of the past and totally blotting out when we have wronged.  Loving our enemies involves the very same in letting go and letting God’s love and mercy take such a hold of us that not only are we set free from the past but our enemies, those who have wronged us are also set free.

We are set free because all too often the wrongs of the past build up inside us.  I won’t pretend that any of this is easy or comes naturally to us which is why it is important that we are open to God and can do in our lives.  It is only then that we will be more open to others.

  • Who do you consider your enemy?  How do you feel when you think about them?  What would it take to love as Jesus commanded?

Merciful God, take a hold of us, every part of who we are that we might be transformed by your love and mercy that we might transform the lives of those we love and those we find difficult to love.