Love your enemies.

So, following up on the two categories of people in the beatitudes,  in Luke 6:27-36 Jesus turns His attention exclusively to “you who listen.”  The true prophets, the poor, the slandered.  And what response does He say to make to the insults, the hardship, the slander?  He says:

Love your enemies.  And what is love?  “Do what is good to those who hate you.”  So, because you follow God, you have enemies.  Because you follow God, your treasure is in heaven.  Because you follow God, you can, here on earth, love your enemies. v 27-30, hcsb:

Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.  Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back.

“The Kingdom of God is yours” (v 20), so now… love your enemies.  Again, this is the difference between “sinners” and “those who listen”: “Even sinners love those who love them.”  But those who listen love their enemies.

Lend, expecting nothing in return.  This follows in the same vein—we lend, we love, not because we expect return now, but because we hope for a heavenly reward, v 35—“then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.”

“Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (v 36).  Because God has been gracious to us, “the ungrateful and evil” (v 35), we are gracious and merciful to the ungrateful and evil in return, to our enemies, to those who would steal from us, to those who mistreat us.  We are imitating God, who was merciful to us while we were yet His enemies.

Because we are blessed, we can bless others.  Because we are loved, we can love.  Because God has given to us, we can give.  And God will repay, God will bless, God will save.

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