Luke 6:27-49, 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. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.* 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. 43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings [in the previous verses], and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you no doubt know that, in far too many ways, Christians and the churches of Jesus Christ in our country (USA) have a “black eye.” We have a “black eye,” or a soiled reputation, in the eyes of the lost and dying world in which we have been called to reach for Christ. That is our mission!
Of course, more often than not, we claim that we are being “persecuted for righteousness sake,” and in some cases, this is absolutely true; And yet, if we were truly honest, we would have to admit that we are all too often guilty of “self-inflicted persecution and pain” because of our pride, our lack of compassion, and, to be quite honest with our unwillingness to simply obey what we often refer to as the “red letters of Jesus.” As one author noted:
When outsiders [those outside the church, the ones we need to be reaching] claim that we are unChristian, it is a reflection of this jumbled (and predominantly negative) set of perceptions. When they see Christians not acting like Jesus, they quickly conclude that the group deserves an unChristian label. Like a corrupted computer file or a bad photocopy, Christianity, they say, is no longer in pure form, and so they reject it. One-quarter of outsiders say that their foremost perception of Christianity is that the faith has changed for the worse. It has gotten off track and is not what Christ intended. Modern-day Christianity no longer seems Christian. Do the negative images that people have of Christians get your blood pumping? Keep in mind, the terms and concepts that outsiders throw at us are loaded. Sometimes the criticism is meant to push our buttons, but that is not always the case.
That’s a powerful quote right there. Take a few moments to ponder it’s words and then consider the words of our Lord above.
We should prayerfully ponder these words of Christ, as found in Luke chapter 6, and then ask ourselves, “Is this a good description of my life today?” Are these words of Jesus above, a good description of our church, and other churches like ours today?
If not, we might want to ask God to change our hearts and change our churches, for the sake of Christ and the cause of Christ in our communities and country!
P.S. I just heard a great message preached by Bob Gray II recently. It’s called, “Spiritual PTSD.” It is definitely worth listening to and would go along the lines of this article today.
*A little side note here: Our Lord’s words in verse 38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you …” is not referring to giving money, but giving forgiveness. I don’t necessarily think it would be wrong to use the passage to refer to our giving,, but that’s not it’s primary message. Context matters!