Christ did not so much give rules for special cases–as principles to govern all conduct.
“I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27
Loving enemies is not a natural affection.
This is not an easy lesson to learn!
It is never easy to be a Christian.
The easy way does not lead toward Heaven!
The lesson of love continues, “Bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you.” Lk 6:28
These counsels are intensely practical. In answer to men’s cursings, revilings and insults–we are to return words of peace, kindness and love. Those who mistreat us–we are to pray for, instead of uttering threats against them, or imprecations upon them.
We remember how Jesus Himself lived out this law of love. There were many who cursed Him and reviled Him–but He never lost the sweetness of love out of His heart. He never on any occasion returned a word of cursing or anger or even of impatience–in response to the bitterest revilings of His enemies. “When He was reviled–He did not revile in return; when suffering–He did not threaten, but committed Himself to the One who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23
That is the example for us.
We are to be silent when others speak evil of us or to us; or, if we speak, it is to be the soft answer that turns away wrath. Because We need not worry ourselves about the deserts of those who treat us unjustly, feeling that we should see to their punishment. We are to leave that to God–who judges righteously and who will take care also that no real harm shall come to us, from the wrongs which others inflict on us–provided we keep ourselves in His love and in an obedient spirit.
The lesson has its ideal exemplification in our Lord’s prayer on His cross for His murderers. His only answer to the driving of the nails through His hands and feet was, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!” That is the way He wants us to answer the cruelties and injuries which others may inflict upon us!
We must be ready to endure not one, but many injuries from the others. We must be unresisting, like our Lord. No wrongs from others, should ever turn our love to hate. Christ’s own life was an illustration of this. He was treated wrongfully at every step–but His heart never lost its sweetness, its gentleness, its patience, its desire to bless others and do them good.
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