“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”
(Luke 6:27-31, New Living Translation)
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:19, New International Version)
Today’s Reading: Luke 6
The human will is a powerful force. Some people can be motivated to put down 26.2 miles in a marathon, making the sacrifices needed in training to support their bodies with nutrition, rest and recovery. But the human will can also be pushed in a different direction. Because your will is impacted by sin, you won’t always choose to respond with lovingkindness when you experience pain from and friction with others.
When I was five years old, Toni was my very first best friend. She and I were like two peas in a pod when we got along, but we could fight like cats and dogs when we didn’t!
One minute we’d be dancing together near the playground, and the next minute we’d be fighting, often over the silliest things. One time, I almost threw my jelly shoe at her during a squabble, but a teacher got to me first.
While the shoe didn’t fly that day, I was learning small lessons early on about how to respond when someone hurt me. My human will wanted to fight. And without the restraint of wiser adults, my best friend and I would have gone at it.
In Luke 6:27-31, Jesus speaks to those who desire to listen, providing guidance for how to handle relational conflicts — especially with people who don’t have good intentions for you. In verses 27-28, He teaches, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Saying these words is easier than doing them. But that’s the blessing of the gospel: God invites you to lean into His power. He supernaturally helps you participate in the restoration of your relationships in how you respond when others treat you unkindly.
The hurtful ways people often treat each other reveal how sin deeply permeates the world. Our remedy is the Savior, Immanuel, “God with us.” Jesus has lived out His words in verses 27-28 perfectly — through His life, death and resurrection. In fact, while we were still sinners, enemies of God, Jesus died for us and reconciled us to God (Romans 5:6-11). Jesus came to the earth to redeem and restore our relationships: how people connect personally with God and with one another.
The time you spend connecting with God during Advent can help you recognize the longing you continue to hold in your heart for His return. As you wait on Him, Jesus can show you how to treat others with kindness and respect — the way you desire to be treated too.
As you long for restored relationships, how does Jesus show you the way to be a redemptive player in His plan to make all things new?
Dear God, I ask in prayer that You help me to see the relationships in my life that need Your healing touch of restoration and reconciliation. In the power of your Spirit, help me to trust and believe You for the faith I need to take my next steps forward. In Jesus’ name, amen.
How can I love people I disagree with? Learn more about loving by faith.
Melody Copenny serves as an editor-in-chief and journalist with Cru®. She’s an Atlanta, Georgia, native and University of Georgia graduate with a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism. She enjoys the intersection of creativity, theology and popular culture in her writing projects.
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