Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Morning Cup of Tea: Love Your Enemies

Good morning! I'm a bit late getting my study in this morning. Today we are beginning in verse 20 of the sixth chapter of Luke. Jesus began to preach to his followers, and he gave quite a large number of lessons in this passage: blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God; Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled;blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall laugh. (verses 20, 21)
  I don't know whether Jesus is speaking literally or figuratively of hunger here, but both fit. We may not have riches untold here on earth; we may go to bed with a not so filled belly sometimes, and things may be bleak for a time, but it will not always be so. Things will get better, whether here on earth, or in heaven, where there will never ever be sadness or hunger or anything bad. There will always be hardships to face here, but those of us who look to God will be rewarded.
  The verses I want to focus on today are 27 through 35. There is a lot that Jesus says in these verses, and I won't copy all of them, but I hope that you will take the time to read them for yourself.
  These verses tell us to love our enemy.  Indeed, listen to verses 27 and 28:
 27. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
 28. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
 Notice the first thing he says:  "to those who hear". This was rather important and he wanted those who were there to learn to pay attention and understand. Jesus went on to say that if someone hits us on the cheek we should offer him the other cheek as well. If someone wants our jacket he should take our coat as well. It is easy to love someone who loves us; easy to give to someone from whom we expect something in return. But truly loving others means we put aside our feelings. Anyone can love her friends and family--almost everyone does that automatically. But to love someone who hates you takes having a relationship with God.  When we give something, we should not expect something in return; otherwise it was not freely given with a loving heart but with strings attached, a what's in it for me attitude. 
   It is not easy to love someone who does not love us. But if we treat others as we would like to be treated and leave it at that --feeding those who are hungry, giving clothing to those who need it, tending the sick --and doing it out of love and compassion, not in such a way that says I'm better than you or I want recognition for this act --we will receive a great reward in heaven. It was never meant for our government to take care of our neighbors. We should take care of one another.

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