Luke 6:27-38 (NRSV)
Verse 27"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, Verse 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Verse 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Verse 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Verse 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. Verse 32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Verse 33If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. Verse 34If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. Verse 35But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Verse 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Verse 37"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; Verse 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
God’s mercy is…timeless love and grace.
Recently, I took a much-needed break from social media as I wrestled with how I could love family and friends who are at odds with politics, masks, vaccinations, etc. I found myself not wanting to forgive or even deal with others who were not living as I thought they should.
In this week’s gospel reading, Jesus says that we should love our neighbors, turn the other cheek, and not judge others. Amidst all the turmoil of today’s world, this is not always an easy task, even with those who are closest to us. Sometimes loving our neighbors is just hard work.
Yet, Jesus is calling us to do just that. He calls us to receive and share God’s grace—to do the hard work of being peacemakers and sowing seeds of love. Hate is easy, but love requires us to forgive and move forward. I wonder what prayers you can offer today that will help you to love your neighbor.
Merciful Lord, help me let go of the things that obstruct the flow of your love in my life. As servants of God, may we show love and kindness to all of God’s children. Amen.