I was asked to do something thoughtful for an enemy. Granted, the person doing the asking didn’t realize the would-be recipient is antagonistic toward my family. What goes through your mind in a situation like that? I’ll tell you what went through mine. You’ve got to be kidding me. No way! I can’t do it. Even if I could, it wouldn’t be sincere. You have no idea what that person has put me through, and now I’M the one who has to be nice? Does that seem fair? You’re killing me. And on and on my thoughts went. By the time my mental rant was over, I’d done a nice job of convincing myself that the person wouldn’t welcome a thoughtful gesture from me anyway. I patted myself on the back for having never retaliated (hello, Pride), and justified my choice to simply avoid the enemy. What more could anyone ask?
“But I say to you who hear, LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD to those who hate you, BLESS those who curse you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, OFFER the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, DO NOT WITHHOLD your tunic either. GIVE to everyone who asks of you” (Luke 6:27-30).
Jesus asked for more. I have to acknowledge that my avoid-at-all-costs plan isn’t good enough. Okay, it’s not even good. Avoiding doesn’t love, do good, give, or any of those other commands I decided I’d better circle in the text. Jesus went on to say,”But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” (v. 32). By withholding love and goodness, I act like the world. Still, it seems a bit much to ask. Until I remember…
“Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him. And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands. And [Pilate] delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified. They twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head. They struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him. Those who passed by blasphemed Him. Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him” (Mark 14).
And He was completely innocent. He never entertained an unkind thought. He didn’t deserve such horrible treatment. What went through His mind as He faced His antagonists, knowing He was on the cross for them? “You’re killing Me”? No. Jesus demonstrated the very attitude He requires of us. We know exactly what went through His mind.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Prayer for Today: Humble me, Lord. In my thoughts, attitude, and intentions, give me a heart like Your Son’s.
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