Posted: August 3, 2015 in TLCC
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Picture out the person you “hate” the most. This person stresses you out. The moment you think of him (or her), your day turns bad. When you see his (or her) face, your mood changes. Whatever this person does annoy you. There are just people you don’t get along with. This person may be your office mate, or someone in church, or your boss, or someone in the company of your friends. We don’t even want to say we “hate”. We probably just dislike the person.

Usually, the person who could hurt us the most are those closest to us. The person we usually hated the most, they are usually our very own family members. So when we talk about reactions toward people we don’t like, we would say…

“you don’t know my mother” or “maybe your perception would change when you meet this person” or “you never know what my sister did to me” or any other lines we can think of. Actually…excuses.

As followers of Christ, instead of hate, we are called to love.

(Read Luke 6:27-36)

Here’s a few things we need to be reminded of. By the way, this isn’t a request by Jesus Christ. It is a command to those who follow him.

#1 To those who hate us…Love them (v27)
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Who are your enemies? They are the ones who gives you headaches. They are the ones who makes you stressed. They make your stomach churn. Jesus commands us to love them. Do good to them. Show acts of kindness. Acts of grace. Some of your enemies maybe inside the church. Do good to them. Do they deserve it? Jesus commands us to do good to them.

#2 to those who curse us…bless.
To those who abuse us…pray (v28-29)
bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.

How do we respond to negative criticism? Gossip? Rumors? Lies? Negative comment? Jesus tells us to bless them.
Usually, here are the ways we respond to criticism

(a) Find fault with the critic.
(b) Blame others.
(c) Return criticism.
(d) Ignore opportunity to learn.
(e) Appeasing.

Jesus tells us…bless them. Don’t return negative criticism with another negative criticism. Do not take vengeance. (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19) Go the extra mile. (Matt. 5:41) Blessing them means speaking kindly to them. We’re not going to be firestarters, we’re supposed to be peacemakers.

The book of Proverbs teaches us that “for lack of wood, the fire goes out” (Prov. 26:20). That’s saying if we don’t take matters into our hands, there’s really nothing to add to criticism or gossip. James tells us that the tongue is a fire that can set the whole forest on fire. Such a small fire but can do a lot of damage (James 3:5-6). Instead of adding fuel to the fire of gossip and criticism, we’re supposed to stop it by blessing those who curse us.

How about those who abuse us? Pray. Pray for yourself. That your heart be right. Pray for the one who abuse you. That they may find God.

#3 to those who asks of us…Practice generosity (v30)
Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

If you can give generously, it means your heart and your identity is not in riches. You are a steward. Storing up treasures in heaven. Scriptures talk about wealth a lot of times. That should give us enough discussion on why we should be generous. The issue is not about giving. The issue is not about who to give to. The issue is our heart. Is it for God, or for ourselves? We would have a hard time giving when we think more of ourselves than God. When we know what God gave us, it would be easier for us to be generous to others.

#4 to everyone else…Treat others the way you want them to treat you (v31)
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

My father used to tell me to check how a person treats his mother and how a person treats the waiter (or service crew) and that would show the character of the person. How we treat subordinates shows who we are. Do we just stay nice to customers and to those superior to us? How about to the helper at home, or to the driver? How about to the delivery guys when we order fast food? How about our workers? Treat them the way we want to be treated.

#5 The way we view God is how we are going to respond to life. (v36)
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

The way we view God is the way we would be treating people around us. If the God we believe in is vindictive, chances are, we are vindictive to people around us. If our God is distant, we are also distant with people around us. If we believe that God is unfair, most likely, we would be whiners and complainers. If we believe God is faithful, we will be faithful. If He is a good provider, we would likewise be the same.

The kingdom of God is not getting. The kingdom of God is not about doing. The kingdom of God is about being. Being in a relationship with God. This kingdom starts in the church. This is about Jesus. He is the King. And His Kingdom. It’s never about us.

The most painful part of life is the most glorious opportunities to practice these things we are learning. Every situation really comes down to a view of God. Tragedy, grief, poverty comes then your view on God would determine your reaction.

Your identity is in Christ. Respond in the kingdom way.


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