February 20

Luke 6:31-36

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” vs. 35

Jesus could say radical, eye-brow raising things to his disciples because he knew God’s heart. Most people, then and now, believe that God keeps track of wrong-doing and wreaks vengeance on the ungrateful and the wicked. Somehow we’ve gotten the notion that John Wayne was a member of the Holy Trinity, and that his movie antics mirrored those of the Divine. But Jesus knew better; he knew that God was kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. He saw with his own eyes that rain fell on the just and the unjust, and that rascals were blessed by God’s goodness. And he expected those who claimed to walk in his ways to do exactly the same things. This is where it gets tough to be a follower of Jesus. We have a hard time loving our friends–and he wants us to love our enemies? We’re to do good to those who cut us off on freeways and contribute to the well-being of ne’er-do-wells? 

The answer is yes, yes, and yes again! That’s what it’s like to live in Christ–bit by bit, stumbling along the way, we can actually learn to be merciful, even as God is merciful. And when vengeance departs our lives, and we quit worrying about getting even, love takes over, and joy is ours.

Thought for the Day: Who actually lives this way?

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